Serbia has granted citizenship to the U.S. actor Steven Seagal.
The decision, announced in a government statement on January 11, comes after the veteran actor and producer made two recent visits to Serbia, praising its populist leadership and saying he feels like a Serb.
During one visit, Seagal offered to train Serbian special police forces in Aikido, a Japanese martial art that he has displayed in his movies.
His visits were sponsored by a pro-Russia Serb group.
Seagal is one of several Western celebrities who have socialized with Russian President Vladimir Putin and praised him, despite the deep chill in diplomatic relations between Moscow and the West.
Serbia is seeking to join the European Union but is struggling to overcome strong opposition from pro-Kremlin nationalists.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP