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Movies

Steven Seagal Banned from Ukraine Amid His Friendship with Putin

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Paul Archuleta/Getty

Steven Seagal is under siege in the Ukraine.

The tough-guy actor, known for his ’90s action flicks like Hard to Kill and Under Siege, has been blacklisted from the Ukraine for the next five years as a national security threat, according to several reports.

Seagal, 65, has been banned from entering the country because he has allegedly “committed socially dangerous actions … that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security,” according to a Ukrainian security service letter published on Apostrophe and first reported by The Guardian.

While the Ukrainian security letter does not mention specific infractions that led to the ban, Seagal’s close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin are assumed to have played a factor.

Seagal made headlines when he participated in a pro-Putin motorcycle rally in the Crimean peninsula, which was controversially annexed by Russia in 2014 after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a revolution.

Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Vladimir Putin (L) and Steven Seagal in 2016.
Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

In an interview at the time, Seagal expressed support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, telling The Moscow Times that Putin’s “desire to protect the Russian-speaking people of Crimea, his assets, and the Russian Black Sea military base in Sevastopol … is very reasonable.”

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Furthermore, in a 2013 interview with the Russian news channel RT, Seagal called Putin “one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader alive today.”

Later, Putin floated the idea of Seagal becoming an honorary Russian envoy to the United States. And in November, Putin granted Seagal Russian citizenship, personally handing him a Russian passport in a formal ceremony.