Actor Steven Seagal visited an eastern Ukrainian prison where a deadly strike killed dozens of prisoners of war in support of the Kremlin’s claims that Ukraine is responsible for the attack, according to Russian state media.
Zvezda, a Russian state-owned television network, published a video of Seagal at the Olenivka prison repeating Moscow’s narrative of the recent attack that killed 53 and wounded dozens of others on July 29, arguing Ukrainians carried out the strike using U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
The Ukrainian military has claimed the prison, which housed Ukrainian prisoners of war captured at the Azovstal steel mill during the fall of Mariupol, was blown up from the inside by Russia’s military.
“It definitely looks like a rocket,” Seagal said in the video. “If you look at the burning and other details, of course it’s not a bomb. Not to mention the fact that Russia really has a lot of artifacts from HIMARS.”
The Hill has not independently verified the footage.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said last week that U.S. intelligence indicates Russia is seeking to plant evidence to portray Ukrainian forces as the aggressors in the attack, potentially including ammunition from HIMARS. Moscow has denied those claims.
HIMARS have been a key component of recent U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, since the GPS-guided missiles can reach targets up to 50 miles away and then the system can change position quickly to avoid counterattacks.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres last week announced he was appointing a fact-finding mission in response to requests from the two countries for an investigation into the attack on Olenivka prison.
Denis Pushilin, the leader of pro-Russia separatists in the Donetsk region, where the prison is located, posted on Telegram that Seagal was filming a documentary about the war.
“At the meeting, Steven noted that 98 percent of those who talk about the conflict in the media have never been here,” Pushilin wrote. “Therefore, the world does not know the truth. He wants to change the way we look at this war.”
Seagal, who supported Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea in Ukraine’s south, was later granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin. Seagal was appointed as Russia’s special envoy to the U.S. in 2018.
Russian politician and TV host Vladimir Solovyov wrote on Telegram that Seagal “personally got acquainted with the evidence,” claiming it confirmed the pro-Kremlin viewpoint.