Steven Seagal 'humbled and honoured' by appointment as special envoy to US

Steven Seagal 'humbled and honoured' by appointment as special envoy to US

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

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.

The actor, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2016, has vocally defended the Russian leader's policies, including Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticized the USA government.

Actor Steven Seagal attends the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15.

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The Russian foreign ministry has explained that the position is public and is not expected to be paid.

Since then, U.S. -Russia relations have only got worse however with U.S. intelligence agencies accusing Moscow of interfering in Donald Trump's White House run, an allegation Russian Federation denies. The countries have also been at odds over the Syrian civil war and the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Actor Steven Seagal speaks at a news conference, while attending an opening ceremony for a research and development center in Moscow, Russia, Sept. 22, 2015.

Seagal, 66, could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.

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

Seagal thanked the Russian government for his new role, describing the appointment as "a great honor".

While Seagal is popular in Russian Federation, he has been accused in the USA of sexual misconduct.

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. He's a close friend and staunch supporter of Putin, whom he has hailed as a "great world leader".

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