World Steven Seagal to Leave Russian 'Special Envoy' Role Amid Tensions With U.S.
In occupied south Ukraine, some fear a return to Soviet times under Russia
In occupied south Ukraine, some fear a return to Soviet times under RussiaKYIV (Reuters) - In Nova Kakhovka, a city in southern Ukraine occupied by Russian troops five months ago on the first day of its invasion, the signs of creeping annexation by Russia are mounting and some residents fear a return to Soviet times.
Actor Steven Seagal has said his Moscow-appointed role as a Russian cultural ambassador to the United States could "change" as ties between the countries plummet amidst the war in Ukraine.
In one of the more unusual appointments in global diplomacy, the Russian foreign ministry gave Seagal in 2018 the unpaid role of "" for humanitarian ties with the U.S. Popular in Russia, the star of Under Siege and Sniper: Special Ops, had been a regular visitor to Moscow where he has praised President .
2 US volunteers believed to be fighting for Ukraine killed in Donbas, State Department says
It is believed that the US citizens were volunteer fighters, per ABC News. At least two other Americans have been killed while fighting against Russia.From the introduction of Russian currency to the complete shuttering of Ukrainian broadcasting, the Kremlin is taking extreme measures to make Ukrainian towns look, feel, and operate like Russia.
Putin has hosted the actor and martial arts specialist at his residence outside Moscow and the Kremlin has said the pair are longtime friends. The leader personally presented Seagal with a Russian passport in 2016.
Seagal's paternal grandparents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the U.S. and the actor traced his roots in the regions of Kalmykia, Tuva and Yakutia, RIA Novosti reported.
When given the role of Russia's representative to the U.S., which is akin to a goodwill ambassador, Moscow said it hoped he could boost contacts as well as "mutual understanding and trust between the Russian and American peoples."
But with Washington condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, and leading tough international sanctions against Moscow, mutual understanding between the countries is scarce.
President Zelenskyy says Ukrainian forces are counterattacking and advancing towards the captured city of Kherson
UK intelligence states that Russia may see a "significant military and political setback" as Ukraine counterattacks target Russian-occupied Kherson.Throughout the buildup to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries, including the US, insisted they would not send troops to the region amid concern that the presence of their personnel on the ground would lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict.
"Relations between the US and Russia, as you know, are very tense," Seagal told. "There are discussions about how to change my position in terms of what I was previously appointed to," Seagal added, without specifying further.
Seagal had previously said he supported Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and has called Putin "one of the great living world leaders." In 2017, Ukraine banned the actor from entering the country for five years, deeming him a "security threat."
But soon after the start of Putin's invasion, Seagal toldDigital that he viewed Russia and Ukraine "as one family" and that it was "an outside entity spending huge sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other."
"My prayers are that both countries will come to a positive, peaceful resolution," he told the outlet. This week, he told RIA Novosti that he would "never give up" his Russian passport, telling the state news agency, " I face Russophobia every day."
Moldova says it fears a Russian invasion as more neighbors ring alarm over Ukraine war
Moldova, which neighbors Ukraine, has a breakaway region backed by Russian forces. The Moldovan prime minister said a Russian invasion is "a risk."Throughout the buildup to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries, including the US, insisted they would not send troops to the region amid concern that the presence of their personnel on the ground would lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict.
The reaction contrasts with that of French actor Gerard Depardieu, who also once boasted of close ties with Putin. The Russian leader gave him a passport in 2013. After the start of the war,of "crazy, unacceptable excesses" in Ukraine which the Russian people "are not responsible for."
Germany to send Ukraine 16 bridge-laying tanks, adding to its arsenal of Western weapons, as it wages a new offensive against the Russian invasion .
Germany plans to send Ukraine Biber bridge-layer tanks to help its forces "overcome water or other obstacles in battle," the ministry said Friday.Throughout the buildup to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries, including the US, insisted they would not send troops to the region amid concern that the presence of their personnel on the ground would lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict.