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Ukraine Bans U.S. Film Star Seagal As 'National Security Threat'


U.S. actor Steven Seagal (right) signs a Russian passport received from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in November 2016.

Ukraine has banned U.S. action film star Steven Seagal from entering the country, labeling him a national security threat.

The Ukraine National News (UNN) agency on May 5 quoted the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) as saying Seagal would be banned for five years.

Seagal, who received Russian citizenship in November, has publicly supported Moscow's illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and participated in a concert there in August 2014.

Moscow seized control of Crimea in March 2014 and has supported separatists in eastern Ukraine in fighting that has killed more than 9,750 people.

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its actions in Ukraine.

Seagal, 65, grew up in California but claims Russian and Mongolian ancestry.

Reports have said he holds a black belt in aikido and is a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also is a fan of the martial arts.

Other celebrities have been banned from Ukraine after taking Russian citizenship and expressing support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, including French film star Gerard Depardieu.

In March, Ukraine barred Russia's contestant in the Eurovision Song Contest from entering the country because it said she had performed in Crimea in 2015.

That ban will prevent Yulia Samoilova, 22, from participating in the song contest scheduled for May 13 in Kyiv. Russia is boycotting the event.

Based on reporting by dpa, UNN, Interfax, Apostrophe.ua, and The Guardian
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