Hollywood action hero Steven Seagal has sparked controversy after performing at a concert in Crimea on 9 August on a stage decorated with the black, blue and red flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), a pro-Russia separatist group.
Following his musical performance, Seagal addressed the crowd in Russian, thanking them for their ovation and proclaiming his love for the Russian people. Afterwards, Seagan was presented with a T-shirt emblazoned with President Vladimir Putin’s face, which he promptly put on.
Seagal is a well-known supporter of Putin and has previously referred to him as “a friend [who] I’d like to consider as a brother”. Earlier this year, he announced his support for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, calling Putin “one of the great living world leaders” for his “reasonable” desire to protect Russians in the Black Sea peninsula.
The concert was part of a pro-Putin event in Sevastopol attended by around 100,000 people, who gathered to celebrate the reunification of Crimea with Russia. The event was organised by Night Wolves, a Russian motorcycle gang also known as “Putin’s Hell’s Angels” because of their loyalty to the president. The evening’s programme included a re-enactment by Night Wolves of the Ukraine crisis that was broadcast on Russian state television.
In separate news, US actor Mickey Rourke wore a T-shirt bearing Putin’s image to an interview with LifeNews, a Russian news channel. In the interview, Rourke praised Putin’s “directness and frankness” and said the president was a “clever, direct guy who says it how it is, like a man should”. He added that he would “fearlessly” wear the T-shirt in the US.
Source: RIA Novosti