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Russia Appoints Actor Steven Seagal As Special Envoy To U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) talks to U.S. actor Steven Seagal while visiting the oceanarium on Russkiy island outside Vladivostok in September 2015.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that U.S. action film star Steven Seagal has been appointed Russia’s special envoy for humanitarian ties with the United States.

Seagal was granted Russian citizenship in 2016 and has vehemently defended President Vladimir Putin’s policies, including Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula, along with criticizing the U.S. government.

He was also granted Serbian citizenship in 2016.

Kyiv last year banned Seagal from entering Ukraine for five years on national security grounds.

The ministry said on August 4 that Seagal's unpaid position would be intended to "facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public, and youth exchanges."

The 66-year-old Seagal was a popular U.S. actor in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He starred in film such as Under Siege and Above The Law.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters