President Vladimir Putin has awarded Russian citizenship to U.S. actor Steven Seagal.
The 64-year-old Seagal "has been insistent for a long time in asking to be granted Russian citizenship," Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on November 3.
“He is known for his warm feelings to our country. He never made a secret of it, and he's also a well-known actor, which gave grounds to make him a Russian citizen," Peskov added.
Seagal is one of several Western celebrities who have socialized with Putin and praised him, despite the deep chill in diplomatic relations between Moscow and the West.
Other foreign celebrities to be awarded Russian citizenship by the Kremlin in recent years included French actor Gerard Depardieu and U.S. boxer Roy Jones Jr.
In January, Seagal was granted Serbian citizenship after the veteran actor and producer made visits to Serbia, praising its populist leadership and saying he feels like a Serb.
Based on reporting by TASS, Interfax, AP, and Reuters