Putin gives Russian citizenship to action film actor Steven Seagal

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has awarded Russian citizenship to action film actor Steven Seagal.

The 64-year-old  actor has been a regular visitor to Russia in recent years and has accompanied Mr Putin to several martial arts events, as well as vocally defending the Russian leader's policies.

Steven Seagal at a post-Grammy party (MARK J. TERRILL/AP/Press Association Images)
Steven Seagal at a post-Grammy party (MARK J. TERRILL/AP/Press Association Images)

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Steven "has been insistent for a long time in asking to be granted Russian citizenship," adding that "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".

Putin
(Mikhail Klimentyev/AP)

Other foreign celebrities to be awarded Russian nationality by the Kremlin in recent years are French actor Gerard Depardieu and US boxer Roy Jones Jr.