Russian actor Mikhail Porechenkov came to Donetsk airport on Thursday to show his support to (pro-)Russian separatists. Wearing a ‘PRESS’ helmet he was firing upon the positions of Ukrainian soldiers who are holding the airport.
“Mikhail spoke with militiamen with great pleasure and expressed support for them… Porechenkov also accepted the militants’ offer to fire with a Utyos heavy machine gun, and a minute later those surrounding him watched the alleged footage from a film with Mikhail. After saying goodbye to militiamen, the famous actor was photographed with them for a long time on the ruins of the airport,” reads the report of Novorossia TV.
According to Porechenkov, he arrived in Donetsk on a ‘humanitarian mission’ to represent the Poddubny movie where he acted the part of a fighter.
Ukraine’s Security Service has launched a probe into participation in terrorist activity against the Russian action movie actor.
Meanwhile, Porechenkov denied the accusations against him in an interview with TASS on Friday saying: “Naturally, these were staged scenes and even ammunition was blank. Why are they making this story out of nothing?”
At that, Internet users have noticed service bullets on photos and footage.
As firing was constantly heard at the airport, he put a helmet on ‘just to be safe’, Porechenkov said, adding that he could only borrow a Press helmet.
The Russian Association of Jornalists has condemned actor Porechenkov’s irresponsible behavior reffering to his wearing a Press helmet, shooting and posing on-camera. “We hope actop Porechenkov will offer public apologise to journalists who risk their lives and perform their professional duty in the combat zone,” the statement says.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said earlier on Friday on Facebook that Porechenkov, who appeared on the video that has gone viral, ‘personally took part in firing at a unit of Ukraine’s forces from automatic guns.’
“These scenes were shown by TV channels, fully establishing this Russian citizen’s guilt of committing a crime on Ukraine’s territory,” Avakov said in a statement.
Avakov said the Russian actor will be put on a wanted list and is to be extradited to Ukraine and arrested. Interpol will inevitably join the search for Porechenkov, he said.
“Investigators are convinced that having such an evident proof of the crime, Interpol will actively support the search effort, and Porechenkov will not be able to travel around the world,” Avakov said.
Under the Ukrainian law, an individual faces between 7 years to 12 years in jail for committing this crime, he said.