In the latest of several cultural icons to be blacklisted, Ukraine banned Steven Seagal from the country for five years.
A letter posted by the Ukrainian security service on the news site Apostrophe stated Seagal had “committed socially dangerous actions … that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security.” They dangerous action referenced here is his close relationship with Vladimir Putin. Seagal has openly supported Putin. His blues band performed at a Pro-Putin biker bar, doting a shirt with the leader’s face printed on it. Last year Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters the two have been close friends for a while and meet regularly. Seagal stated he “likes to consider him a brother.”
Last year Seagal applied for citizenship in Russia, after Putin had been considering him as an envoy. Putin told Seagal he hopes their “personal relationship will remain and continue” as he personally handed him a Russian passport during a formal ceremony. The conferring of his Russian citizenship in November is what set Ukraine off, and he was added to a proposed list of black listers. Although the agency has not specified the specific reasons for the ban, they have confirmed the information is true.
Seagal has stared in action movies like Under Siege, Hard to Kill, and Above the Law.
In an interview with Russian news channel RT in 2013, Seagal stressed Putin as “one of the greatest world leaders” adding in “if not the greatest world leader alive today.” Again there has been no official release as to why the ban was put in place, but there is a strong correlation between the hostility and the friendship between Putin and Seagal.