While fighting in eastern Ukraine continued to rage to the north, American actor and sometimes musician Steven Seagal performed at a concert in Crimea on a stage decorated with the flag of Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists.
Seagal, who knows Russian President Vladimir Putin, performed with his blues band Saturday night in the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol at a concert organized by a motorcycle gang of Russian nationalists known as the Night Wolves,
The Associated Press reported the Russian news RIA Novosti as saying that Seagal was then handed a shirt with Putin’s face on it, which he held aloft as he thanked the crowd.
Russia annexed the Ukrainian region in March and although some expected him to, Seagal hasn’t distanced himself from Putin. According to The Moscow Times, he did a 2,000-word interview with state-run newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta in which he said Putin’s “desire to protect the Russian-speaking people of Crimea, his assets, and the Russian Black Sea military base in Sevastopol . . . is very reasonable.”
Seagal has called U.S. policy regarding the Ukraine situation “idiotic” and praised Putin as “one of the great living world leaders” — even going so far as saying he “would like to consider him as a brother.”