Russian movie star on vacation in rebel-held Ukraine
On the 30th of October an apparently well known (in Russia) movie actor by the name of Mikhail Porechenkov (Russian: Михаил Пореченков) went on a visit to Donetsk.
According to IMDB he acted in 48 movies and has 5 children.
First he went on a visit to the hospital, claiming to bring medicine and humanitarian aid, took some photos with fans and gave some autographs.
After that he goes to Donetsk Airport where at that time (nearly 2 months after the cease fire deal was signed) heavy fighting is still going on.
The airport is in Ukrainian hands, and has been since the beginning of the war.
The actor is wearing a bullet proof vest and a helmet showing PRESS.
At the airport he does something very stupid, he starts firing a heavy machine gun in the direction of Ukrainian positions.
The video below includes subtitles.
Below is the original video from Novorossia TV.
There is also another video on the Novorossia TV website where he answers questions of local residents.
There is also a YouTube video of an interview on the Anna news website.
The day after the incident, Kiev opened a criminal case against the actor, while the actor started backtracking and claimed he was firing blanks.
KIEV, October 31. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Security Service has opened a criminal case into “participation into terrorist activity” against Russian action movie actor Mikhail Porechenkov who was caught firing at Ukrainian forces at Donetsk airport.
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?” (ITAR-TASS)
Website Belsat zoomed in on the video and the bullets don’t look like blanks.
Website Planet Putin writes that the machine gun used is the Russian KORD 12.7 mm heavy infantry machine gun – not in the Ukrainian inventory.
The Kord-12.7 mm heavy machine gun is a Russian design that entered service in 1998 replacing the older NSV machine gun. (Wikipedia)
Furthermore, the 12.7 mm heavy machinegun Porechenkov was firing was a KORD, which is the latest Russian infantry heavy 12.7 mm machinegun, which has only been produced for about 15 years, and was never in Ukraine’s arsenal (so could not possibly have been taken from a Ukrainian unit as Russia’s disinformation always claims is the source of “rebel” weapons). In fact, the KORD is not even fielded in the Russian military force-wide yet.
One final bit. Though Porechenkov was supposedly visiting with “local DNR rebel fighters” there, the troops in the video are all clearly Russian military professionals. Young strac-looking troops (though one has not shaved for days), all wearing correctly the complete latest Russian military uniform and helmet with liner, which has only been fielded since early 2013. (Later in the video he is posing with some obvious local slovenly looking fighters wearing whatever they could come across.) (Planet Putin)
The Kord machine gun using the 12.7×108mm, the blank cardrige according to this website would look like this:
The difference is very clear, a blank is just the shell without a bullet, it has a plug to stop the gunpowder from falling out but no projectile. (more info: Wikipedia)
Porechenkov was not the first Russian “star” to visit the Donbas.
Website Mashable pointed out that: Porechenkov’s visit to war-torn Donetsk is merely the latest by a high-profile Russian star. Soviet crooner (and State Duma MP) Iosef Kobzan, known as Russia’s Frank Sinatra, performed for a crowd of elderly women at a Donetsk theater on Monday. Both the stars crossed illegally into Ukraine through border checkpoints controlled by the rebels. Kiev has denounced their visits. (Mashable)
The whole thing reminds me of the USO Shows often seen in Vietnam movies.
According to historian Emily Yellin, “The government was to build the buildings and the USO was to raise private funds to carry out its main mission: boosting the morale of the military.” (Wikipedia)