Steven Seagal has declared himself “one million per cent” Russian after receiving an award from president Vladimir Putin.
The former Hollywood star was given an Order of Friendship medal after supporting the country following its invasion of Ukraine.
Seagal pledged his allegiance to Russia during an event held by International Movement of Russians in Moscow on Monday (13 March).
The group consists of non-Russian supporters of the country who want to shine a positive light on Russia in an attempt to have EU sanctions against the country lifted.
During the event, he also accused the US of spending “billions of dollars on disinformation, lies”, which he said was an attempt to “try to discredit, demoralise and destroy the emerging morale of Russia”.
He said: “Over half of the people in America actually love Russia and love Russians and know that they’re being lied to.”
Seagal, who was born in Michigan, said: “My father was pure Russian, and I was raised in a pure Russian household, because my mother was completely immersed in the Russian culture and she did not have parents.”
“So I grew up with Russian culture. I grew up loving Russia and loving all of what I learned about it from a very early age. And for me, I am on million per cent Russophile and and one million per cent Russian.”
Seagal’s comments come as relations between Russia and the US were branded “lamentable” after a Russian aircraft conducted what has been described as an unsafe intercept of a US Air Force surveillance drone.
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The Pentagon shared footage of the collision, which occurred over the Black Sea.
The United States has thrown its support fully behind Ukraine since the war began and has provided Ukraine with $34bn in security aid since 2014.
During the last Congress, Democratic majorities in the US House of Representatives and the Senate, aided by more establishment Republicans, poured money into supporting the country.
Seagal was previously named the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special representative, acting as a go-between for Russian-American humanitarian relations.
Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship medal, which was introduced by former President Boris Yeltsin in 1994, for his “great contribution to the development of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation”.
Seagal has also called Putin “one of the greatest world leaders, if not the greatest world leader, alive today”.