Russia names action-movie star Seagal as envoy for US

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Russia's Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that it had made Michigan-born actor Steven Seagal, 66, its "special representative" for improving Russian-U.S. relations.

The announcement gives a nod to 2016, when Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to the American actor, saying that he hoped it could be symbolic of how Moscow's historically contentious relationship with Washington was beginning to improve. However, things have really only gotten worse since then. President Vladimir Putin and Seagal are close friends, which is more than likely why this new position was given.

The actor, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2016, has robustly defended the Russian leader's policies and once told Piers Morgan on ITV's Good Morning Britain that anyone who thought Putin had attempted to rig the USA elections was "stupid". Seagal says: "I'll never, ever falter". He has also been accused of sexual misconduct by several women amid the viral #MeToo campaign, which he has denied.

He called Putin a personal friend and expressed a desire to improve relations between the United States and Russian Federation.

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Seagal was also granted Serbian citizenship in 2016, following several visits to the Balkan country. He had this to say.

"I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been appointed as a special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of Russian and American Humanitarian ties", Seagal tweeted. "I take this honour very seriously", he wrote on Twitter.

US actor Steven Seagal watches the Victory Day parade, marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia May 9, 2018.

According to the statement, the action star's role will be to promote US-Russia relations "in the humanitarian sphere", adding that the role will include collaboration "in the sphere of culture, public and youth exchanges".