Russia names Steven Seagal special envoy to U.S.

Russia names Steven Seagal special envoy to U.S.

"In global practice, there are parallels with the functions of the un goodwill ambassadors", the foreign ministry said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Russian citizenship to Seagal in a 2016 ceremony and personally presented the actor with a new Russian passport.

"Steven Seagal was appointed as the Russian Foreign Ministry's special representative for Russian-US humanitarian ties", the ministry said.

"It is the case when people's diplomacy meets halfway traditional diplomacy", the ministry said in the statement. He supported the Russian annexation of Crimea.

The star has also spoken out in defence of Putin amid claims that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 USA presidential election, the BBC reports.

The 66-year-old has called President Putin "one of the great living world leaders", and when Seagal was granted Russian citizenship, said he hoped it would be a symbol of how relations between Moscow and Washington were starting to improve.

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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.

For more than a decade Seagal, who according to his own website is 66, has been a regular visitor to Russian Federation.

Last year, Russian enemy Ukraine banned Seagal from entering the country for five years, citing national security reasons.

Seagal's fame peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s with films such as Under Siege and Above the Law, but he remains hugely popular in eastern Europe and was granted both Russian and Serbian citizenships in 2016.

President Putin is also a fan of the kind of martial arts that Seagal often practiced in his Hollywood action movies.

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