Russia appoints Hollywood star Steven Seagal as 'goodwill ambassador' to US

Actor Steven Seagal attends the SMASH Global V pre Oscar fight at Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles California

Moscow has appointed U.S. actor Steven Seagal to promote the "further development of Russian-American relations in the humanitarian sphere, including interaction in the field of culture, art, public and youth exchanges", Russia's Foreign Ministry has announced.

The unpaid position involves fostering bilateral relations in the fields of "culture, art, public and youth exchanges", according to Moscow.

In March of this year, two women who previously accused Steven Seagal of rape and sexual assault stepped forward to offer more detailed accounts of the actor's alleged misconduct.

Relations between Russian Federation and the USA have soured over allegations that Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, which Russian Federation repeatedly denies.

The "Under Siege" star will serve as "special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry on issues of Russian-American humanitarian ties", the ministry said in a statement. He will receive no salary, the Ministry said, adding, "It's a case of people's diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy".

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Last year, Ukraine banned Seagal from entering the country for five years, citing national security reasons.

Seagal was cited by Kremlin-backed TV station RT as welcoming the appointment.

In 2013, BuzzFeed reported that Putin suggested to President Barack Obama that Seagal serve as an honorary envoy of Russian Federation to help improve relations between the two countries.

In 2015, BuzzFeed News reported that two years earlier, Putin had suggested to then-President Barack Obama that he could make Seagal the honorary Russian consul to California and Arizona.

For more than a decade Seagal, who according to his own website is 66, has been a regular visitor to Russian Federation.

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