Actor Steven Seagal gets Russian passport

Describes Putin as one of greatest leaders

Ageing muscle actor Steven Seagal has now officially given America the chop – by accepting a Russian passport.

Russian president Vladimir Putin handed the Under Siege star, 64, the document and said he hopes to improve relations between Moscow and Washington.

Handing the passport over earlier today, Putin said: “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 normalisation of relations between our countries.”

“Spasibo bolshoye (thank you very much)” replied Seagal.

The Kremlin released a transcript of their conversation, with Putin saying they had been discussing citizenship for “quite a while”.

Judo-loving action hero Seagal has Russian heritage and is a regular visitor to the country.

He renounced his US nationality for Moscow earlier this month and expressed his “gratitude” for the “opportunity”.

Judo expert Seagal shares a mutual passion for the martial art with Vladimir Putin and has praised the Russian president in the past.

He has described the iron man former KGB enforcer as “one of the world’s greatest leaders”.

Speaking after he gave up his US citizenship, Seagal explained: “I always felt that USA and Russia should be best friends and allies.

“Despite the unfortunate propaganda going on I remain fully committed to work tirelessly towards this end and I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity.

“I have huge respect and affection for Russia. As well as my own country.”