ArchivedSeptember 22 2022, 15:03 pm

US Actor Steven Seagal Photographed in Ukraine as Part of Russian Propaganda Efforts

UK media report­ed last month that Amer­i­can actor Steven Sea­gal was pic­tured vis­it­ing a prison camp in Russ­ian-con­trolled jail in occu­pied Ukraine. Accord­ing to the Dai­ly Mail report, Sehal’s appear­ance is like­ly part of a Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da attempt to blame Ukraine for an explo­sion at the camp, which killed at least 50 peo­ple there on July 29:

9 August 2022 Amer­i­can actor Steven Sea­gal was pic­tured vis­it­ing a prison camp in Oleniv­ka, Ukraine, a Russ­ian-con­trolled jail that housed hun­dreds of Ukrain­ian pris­on­ers, days after an explo­sion killed at least 50 peo­ple there on July 29. Sea­gal can be seen stand­ing inside the wrecked prison and sit­ting down on a bench exam­in­ing some shrap­nel. There is also a pic­ture of Sea­gal talk­ing to Ukrain­ian pris­on­ers through met­al bars. Sea­gal was banned from enter­ing Ukraine for five years in 2017 after Putin gave him cit­i­zen­ship and per­son­al­ly hand­ed him his Russ­ian pass­port in 2016, after he vocal­ly sup­port­ed Rus­si­a’s annex­a­tion of Crimea. He has also praised Putin for being ‘one of the great­est world lead­ers, if not the great­est world leader, alive today.’ In Feb­ru­ary, Sea­gal told Fox News ‘most of us have friends and fam­i­ly in Rus­sia and Ukraine.’ ‘I look at both as one fam­i­ly and real­ly believe it is an out­side enti­ty spend­ing huge sums of mon­ey on pro­pa­gan­da to pro­voke the two coun­tries to be at odds with each oth­er,’ he said. In a state­ment on the blast, Ukraine’s mil­i­tary said Rus­sia planned ‘the delib­er­ate trans­fer of fight­ers to new premis­es short­ly before the explo­sion’ and cit­ed it as evi­dence of ‘the planned nature of this crime and its com­mis­sion by the Russ­ian side.’ Offi­cials in Donet­sk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic, where Oleniv­ka is locat­ed, have barred inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tors from reach­ing the site. Ukrain­ian author­i­ties said pris­on­ers were trans­ferred to a dif­fer­ent part of the prison before the attack, indi­cat­ing that Rus­sia knew of the attack ahead of time. Moscow claims Ukraine orches­trat­ed the attack with Amer­i­can-made HIMARS mis­siles to stop Ukrain­ian pris­on­ers from divulging infor­ma­tion, though doubts have been cast over the verac­i­ty of the claim. Sea­gal’s appear­ance at the prison appears to be an attempt to fur­ther that claim.

Read the rest here.

Fol­low­ing his vis­it to the prison, Sea­gal appeared on Russ­ian state TV, where he called him­self a “diplo­mat” and defend­ed his vis­it. Around the same time, Newsweek pub­lished a detailed analy­sis of Sea­gal’s Russ­ian ties.

In July, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) pub­lished a report on “US Ampli­fiers of Russ­ian Ampli­gan­da,” a term coined by Stan­ford Inter­net Obser­va­to­ry researcher Renée DiRes­ta, to describe pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in the spread of propaganda.


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