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Vladimir Putin Presents 'Honored' Actor Steven Seagal With a Russian Passport

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Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin presented actor Steven Seagal with a Russian passport on Friday in a show of friendly relations with the U.S., according to NBC News.

Seagal signed his passport in front of Putin at a Kremlin ceremony. Putin said he hoped it would serve as a symbol of how tense ties between Moscow and Washington, D.C. were starting to improve.

“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,” Putin said.

Putin then asked the actor how he was doing, to which Seagal responded: “Everything is good. We will talk later. For now, just honored to be here.”

Putin has long been a fan of the martial arts that Seagal has practiced in his Hollywood action films, and signed the order to grant Seagal with Russian citizenship in early November.

A Kremlin spokesman said Seagal’s “warm feelings towards Russia” and his fame were among the reasons for the gesture.

Seagal, 64, has been a regular visitor to Russia for more than a decade. His films Under Siege and Sniper: Special Ops are popular among Russian audiences, according to NBC News.

The actor joins other celebrities among those given Russian passports, such as French actor Gerard Depardieu, who received citizenship in 2013.

Putin congratulated Donald Trump on his Election Night win, tweeting “Congratulations to Donald Trump on winning the #US presidential election,” a sign he hopes to work with the U.S. to improve relations.