Russian Federation names action-movie star Seagal as envoy for US

Tabitha Dunn
August 5, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a Russian passport for United States actor Steven Seagal during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow.

Moscow has appointed USA actor Steven Seagal as a special envoy, dealing with humanitarian links with the United States, the Russian foreign ministry announced Saturday.

The unpaid position involves fostering bilateral relations in the fields of "culture, art, public and youth exchanges", according to Moscow.

Seagal has been an ardent supporter of Putin, going so far as to defend his government against allegations of election meddling in the United States.

Since then, U.S. -Russia relations have only got worse however with U.S. intelligence agencies accusing Moscow of interfering in Donald Trump's White House run, an allegation Russian Federation denies.

The Russian Foreign Ministry likened Seagal's new role to that of a United Nations goodwill ambassador and said that the actor, who is known for his martial arts prowess, would receive no salary.

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"It is the case when people's diplomacy meets halfway traditional diplomacy", the ministry said.

Last May, Seagal was banned from entering Ukraine for five years after appearing on stage during a concert in Crimea, which Kiev still considers own territory despite the peninsula voting to reunite with Russian in 2014.

He has previously hung out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a fellow martial arts fan.

Seagal was cited by Kremlin-backed TV station RT as welcoming the appointment.

"I've always tried to do everything possible to help Russian-American relations to improve", the action movie star told TASS news agency. His movies, including such titles as "Under Siege" and "Sniper: Special Ops", are popular with Russian audiences.

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