American movie star and recent Russian citizen Steven Seagal told British television he’s personally acquainted with President Vladimir Putin and talks to him on a wide range of subjects, but not politics.
Seagal, who was awarded Russian citizenship by Putin last November, is one of several late-career celebrities to become naturalized after American boxer Roy Jones Jr. and French actor Gerard Depardieu.
Speaking on a British morning show on Wednesday via satellite from Moscow, Seagal said he’s had many direct dealings with the Russian president.
“Him and I started out becoming friends over the martial arts,” he told the Good Morning Britain show on the ITV television channel.
“We don’t have a political relationship,” Seagal said, “We really talk about the martial arts, philosophy, people and dilemmas in life.”
Asked about allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, the aging actor dismissed the notion as “stupid.”