Will ‘Russian Steven Seagal’ help normalize ties with US?

Steven Seagal (R) signs a Russian passport received from Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow. (Reuters)

Vladimir Putin has personally handed a new Russian passport to the American actor Steven Seagal and said he hoped the gesture showed a “normalization” of strained relations with Washington.

Sitting at a round table in the Kremlin at a televised meeting on Friday, the Russian president showed the Hollywood star where to sign the passport.

The two men then rose and shook hands, with Putin saying briefly: “I congratulate you,” and Seagal answering, in Russian: “Thank you very much.”

The Kremlin released a transcript of their chat, with Putin saying they had been discussing citizenship for a while and agreed it must be an “absolutely depoliticized act”.

Putin said he hoped adding Seagal to the list of celebrities who have gained Russian citizenship in recent years could be seen as “a sign of gradual normalization of the relations between our countries”.

Seagal called the passport a “great honor” to which Putin responded by telling him he hoped their “personal relationship will remain and continue”.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53