Russian Federation names Steven Seagal as special envoy for bilateral ties

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The Foreign Ministry, which has been engaged in a prolonged war of words with the U.S. over election meddling, announced Seagal's appointment in a Facebook post on Saturday, saying that his mission would be "further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including cooperation in the sphere of culture, art, public and youth exchanges and so forth".

Seagal was personally granted a Russian passport by Putin in 2016.

"I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been appointed as a special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of Russian and American Humanitarian ties".

"I hope we can strive for peace, harmony and positive results in the world", Seagal wrote.

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After being announced as Russia's special representative on humanitarian relations with the United States, the exact nature of Hollywood star and martial artist Steven Seagal's mission has been revealed. Seagal has vocally defended the Russian leader's policies, including Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and has criticized the USA government.

The countries have also been at odds over the Syrian civil war and the Russian annexation of Crimea.

A statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday says that Seagal's unpaid role aims to strengthen "contacts, mutual understanding and trust between the peoples of Russia and the United States". "Despite the unfortunate propaganda going on I remain fully committed to working tirelessly towards this end and I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity", Seagal also told TASS. "In addition to my black belt, I'm now on a black list", the actor said in reaction, according to his spokesperson. Then-president Barack Obama was "flabbergasted" at the suggestion.

Apart from having been granted Russian citizenship, Seagal has been granted Serbian citizenship. "As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man ..."

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