Putin presents Russian passport to actor Steven Seagal (VIDEO)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented US actor and martial artist Steven Seagal with a Russian passport at the Kremlin.
The Hollywood star, whose family originally hails from Russia, signed his passport in the presence of Putin just weeks after being granted citizenship.
READ MORE:Putin grants Steven Seagal Russian citizenship
Putin said he hoped the passport would serve as a symbol of how the fractious ties between Moscow and Washington are starting to improve, according to Reuters.
"I want to congratulate you and express the hope that this is another, albeit small, gesture and it might be a sign of the gradual normalization of relations between our countries," said the Russian president.
Seagal, famous for his string of action movies including Under Siege and On Deadly Ground, was formally awarded citizenship on November 3.
Поздравляю своего друга Стива с тем, что теперь он стал нашим соотечественником! pic.twitter.com/M1YMhKMvAE— Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin) November 3, 2016
The 64-year-old star has a close relationship with Russia, going back to the ’90s when he opened an outlet of the restaurant franchise Planet Hollywood in Moscow. He became ambassador for Russian firearms manufacturer Orsis in 2013.
He previously told RT that his father was a Russian Mongol and described himself as Russian.
Dual citizenship is not abandoning my country. I love the USA. Family comes from Russia. @LJCuzzort@rtoberl@realDonaldTrump— Steven Seagal (@sseagalofficial) November 11, 2016
Russia is quite beautiful. But I will always love my country. USA is my home. @1972_irene— Steven Seagal (@sseagalofficial) November 11, 2016
Seagal also acquired Serbian citizenship this year after he was offered a job training Serbian special police forces and teaching them Aikido.
Seagal follows in the footsteps of French actor Gerard Depardieu who was granted Russian citizenship by Putin in 2013.