Russia Appoints Action Star Steven Seagal to 'Facilitate Relations' with United States

The 66-year-old action thriller star was given the new title by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.

Actor Steven Seagal, star of crime thrillers Exit Wounds and Above the Law, just got cast in a new role designated by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself: the ministry’s special representative.

On Saturday, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the news in an official statement posted to its Facebook page, claiming the 66-year-old actor would be “promoting the further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere.”

The position—which comes without a paycheck—is centered on the fields of culture, art, and public youth exchanges, paralleling what the agency claimed were United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors, or volunteers tasked with promoting the organization’s work.

“I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been appointed as a special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of Russian and American Humanitarian ties,” Seagal wrote in a tweet on Sunday, “I hope we can strive for peace, harmony and positive results in the world. I take this honour very seriously.”

The appointment comes two years after President Putin, 65, presented the actor with a Russian passport, officially naturalizing him as a citizen. In the ceremony, which was broadcast on Russian state television, Putin declared the action a marker of the two nations’ progressive diplomacy in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election two weeks prior.

“I would like to congratulate you, and I also hope that this small step will mark the beginning of the gradual improvement in our interstate relations,” Putin said.

Seagal, who’s starred in movies popular with Russian audiences like Under Siege and Sniper: Special Ops, often appears on the Kremlin-backed television station to discuss his career and political views.

“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” Seagal said, according to Reuters. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.

Relations between the United States and Russia have been fraught over the last two years, with a Special Counsel led by former FBI director Robert Mueller set up to investigate alleged collusion and potential obstruction of justice by president Donald Trump in the 2016 election. On July 13, Mueller indicted 12 Russian agents accused of conspiring to interfere with the democratic elections.

In January of this year, an extra who appeared in Seagal’s 1994 film On Deadly Ground accused the actor of rape after numerous women came forward with accounts of his sexual misconduct. PEOPLE’s attempts to reach a representative for Seagal were unsuccessful.

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