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Actor Steven Seagal given Russian citizenship

The action star was granted Russian citizenship by a decree from President Vladimir Putin. Seagal has supported Russian policies and accompanied Putin to several events.

American action movie star and martial artist Steven Seagal was given Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, as announced by the Kremlin's website.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Seagal was known for his "warm feelings towards our country and has never hidden them," and added that Seagal had been asking for citizenship "quite insistently and over a lengthy period."

Putin beim Judo-Training (picture-alliance/dpa)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Steven Seagal share a passion for martial arts

Seagal has publicly supported Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. In a 2013 interview with state-owned TV channel Russia Today (now known just as RT),  Seagal described Putin as "one of the greatest world leaders if not the greatest world leader alive today."

The actor and politician have met before, both share a passion for martial arts. Seagal has a seventh-degree black belt in akido. Putin holds black belts in judo, karate and taekwondo.

Seagal starred in Hollywood blockbusters "Hard to Kill" and "Under Siege." Putin has also granted Russian citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu and former world champion boxer Roy Jones Jr., both of whom have supported Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

kbd/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

 

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