Sunday, August 5, 2018

Russia appoints Hollywood star Steven Seagal as 'goodwill ambassador' to US

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it had made Steven Seagal, the American actor, its special representative for Russian-US humanitarian ties, a role it said was meant to deepen cultural, art and youth ties between the two countries.

President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to Seagal in 2016, saying he hoped it would serve as a symbol of how fractious ties between Moscow and Washington were starting to improve.

Since then, US-Russia relations have only got worse however with American intelligence agencies accusing Moscow of interfering in Donald Trump's White House run, an allegation Russia denies. The two countries are also at odds over Syria and Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry likened Seagal's new role to that of a UN goodwill ambassador and said that the actor, who is known for his martial arts prowess, would receive no salary.

"It's a case of people's diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy," the ministry said.

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