Russia Appoints Actor Steven Seagal as Humanitarian Envoy to U.S.


Moscow has appointed U.S. actor Steven Seagal as a special envoy, dealing with humanitarian links with the United States, the Russian foreign ministry announced yesterday.

The ministry also said the position is comparable to that of a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

This will cover "culture, art, public and youth exchanges, among other things", the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its Facebook page.

Relations between Russian Federation and the USA have soured over allegations that Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, which Russian Federation repeatedly denies.

Seagal, who became a Russian citizen in 2016, is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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.

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In March of this year, two women who previously accused Steven Seagal of rape and sexual assault stepped forward to offer more detailed accounts of the actor's alleged misconduct.

"It is the case when people's diplomacy meets halfway traditional diplomacy", the ministry said.

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.

Last year, Russian enemy Ukraine banned Seagal from entering the country for five years, citing national security reasons.

"I've always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations", state-funded TV channel RT cited Seagal as saying on Saturday.

The 66-year-old actor was born in Lansing, the capital city of U.S. state of MI.