(RoyalPatriot.com )- On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin honored martial arts and action movie star Steven Segal for his “international humanitarian work,” CBS News reported.
The 70-year-old former action star, who has been a Russian citizen since 2016, was presented with the Order of Friendship, an award honoring those who have contributed to improving international relations. According to the decree, Seagal received the honor for his cultural and international humanitarian work.
Seagal, who in 2018 was named the Russian Foreign Ministry’s humanitarian envoy to the US and Japan, was an outspoken supporter of the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
In 2017, Ukraine barred Seagal from entering the country for five years over national security concerns.
Last year, Seagal visited the Russian-occupied town of Olenivka in Ukraine where dozens of Ukrainian prisoners were reportedly killed in an attack.
Purported to be a close friend of President Putin, Seagal frequently visited Russia for years before receiving Russian citizenship in November 2016. During his visits to Russia, the action star often accompanied the Russian president to martial arts events.
When he was named humanitarian envoy to the US and Japan, the Foreign Ministry announced that Seagal was tasked with facilitating humanitarian relations between the United States and Russia in arts, culture, and “youth exchanges.”
After Seagal was granted Russian citizenship, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at the time that Seagal “never made a secret” about his “warm feelings” toward Russia. Peskov explained that Seagal’s feelings for the country along with his status as a “well-known actor” were the grounds for granting him citizenship.
In a 2013 Russian television interview, Seagal described walking into Vladimir Putin’s home for the first time and being “taken and impressed” by him. Seagal said he knew immediately that he wanted to “get to know this man deeper and deeper.”