The deteriorating Ukraine and Russia relations have led to the blacklisting of American actor Steven Seagal, which adds another name to the list of blacklisted public figures. The Ukrainian security service confirmed the banishment of the actor from entering into the nation for five years.
The Ukrainian government’s move has come following the enhancing friendly bond of Steven Seagal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The actor received citizenship in Russia, and Putin personally handed a passport to the actor. The security service people in Ukraine said that the reason behind the nation taking such a strict decision against the actor is that he has “committed socially dangerous actions … that contradict the interests of maintaining Ukraine’s security.”
It was in November 2016 when Russia granted citizenship to Steven Seagal. Putin hoped that the move will better Russia-America relationships. Both nations have been in bitter terms because of the Syrian conflicts. While Russia favors Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the United States continues to remain against the regime.
“I hope this is going to be another step – albeit small [but nevertheless] a sign of further normalization of our interstate relations,” Putin said.
Steven Seagal has been declared a threat to Ukraine’s security. The Under Siege actor has many times been observed supporting Russian initiatives against Ukraine. The actor called Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 a “very reasonable” step. In addition, the actor also performed with his blues band at a concert initiated by a pro-Putin biker club in Sevastopol. At the Crimea event, the eastern Ukraine’s separatists’ flag was seen flying on stage.
Steven Seagal has also been found publicly supporting Putin policies. He also called the Russian president “one of the world’s great leaders” in the past. According to media reports, Seagal told a Russian news agency that he feels quite comfortable and “very at home” in Russia. Of note here is that the series of events relating to the blacklisting of the actor has come following the escalating fight between Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine.
While Steven Seagal advocates Crimea annexation by Russia, the annexation is considered illegal by Ukraine. Hence, it seems difficult for the actor and the nation to walk in coordination. The nation also reserves the right to put a travel ban on anyone who visits the place without asking for prior permission from Kiev.
There was a proposed blacklist of foreign cultural personalities in 2015. The list contained the names of people who favored “violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.” That list also had the name of Steven Seagal along with French actor Gerard Depardieu and several other Russian figures. Among the proposed names, Ukraine banned Depardieu. The nation also blacklisted over 100 Russian films.
The Ukraine and Moscow conflict in cultural terms continued in 2015 when the former banned Russia’s Eurovision entrant Yulia Samoilova for performing in Crimea. The show is scheduled to be held on May 13. Steven Seagal had been frequently visiting Russia since the 1990s. His visits came following the opening of his branch of restaurant chain Planet Hollywood in Moscow. According to latest reports, the actor is all set to produce as well as act in straight-to-videos flicks. Moreover, he has two projects in progress for 2017.
Besides the already disturbing conflicts, another recent incident has been reported regarding Russia-Ukraine relations. Russian exporters have suspended the export of LPG to Ukraine for the second time in a month. The traders said on Thursday that the Russian regulators did not give clearance for the shipment. Prior to this, Russia suspended the export in early April. The nation said that it could be used for military purposes and hence the export was restricted.
[Featured Image by Kristina Nikishina/Getty Images]