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

Moscow appoints action star Steven Seagal special envoy on Russia-US humanitarian ties

Steven Seagal appointed by Russian foreign ministry as envoy for humanitarian ties with US

Russian Federation has handed Hollywood movie star Steven Seagal the task of keeping relations cordial with the United States.

In November 2016, Michigan-born martial artist and action film star Steven Seagal visited Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin to receive an unusual gift: his very own Russian passport.

Steven Seagal has been named Moscow's envoy to the United States for "humanitarian ties", the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Saturday.

A statement on the ministry's Facebook page on Saturday said the position was "socio-political" and the actor would not be paid. The ministry likened the role to that of a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

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In 2015, BuzzFeed News reported that two years earlier, Putin had suggested to then-President Barack Obama that he could make Seagal the honorary Russian consul to California and Arizona.

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.

"I've always tried to do everything possible to help Russian-American relations to improve", the action movie star told TASS news agency. 'I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially'. He has praised Putin's annexation of Crimea, for example, and last year, Kiev banned him from entering Ukraine for five years, claiming he "committed socially unsafe actions" that could threaten its security.

According to Seagal's own website, the 66-year-old has been a regular visitor to Russian Federation for over a decade. His movies, including such titles as "Under Siege" and "Sniper: Special Ops", are popular with Russian audiences.

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