American action star Steven Seagal is “Under Siege” in Ukraine after the country blacklisted him as a national security threat. Seagal has a bit of a “bromance” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, attending martial arts events with him and defending his policies.
Seagal is banned from entering Ukraine for five years on grounds he has “committed socially dangerous actions ... that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security,” the Washington Post reports, citing a Ukrainian security letter.
Though the letter does not outline specific statements that got the actor banned, Seagal once participated in a pro-Putin motorcycle rally in Crimea, a disputed peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014 after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a revolution.
In November, Putin presented Seagal with a Russian passport.
Celebrated in Russia for ’90s action flicks and YouTube compilations of him swearing in accented Russian, Seagal has become something of a cross-cultural confidant to Putin. In a 2013 interview with RT, Seagal called him “one of the greatest world leaders if not the greatest world leader alive today.” The men have at least two things in common: a love of martial arts and a dislike of the West’s criticism of Moscow.
Seagal now has dual citizenship.