1. ITV Report

Martial arts fan Vladimir Putin gives Russian passport to actor Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal has been given a Russian passport Credit: Reuters

Actor and martial arts expert Steven Seagal has been given a Russian passport by Vladimir Putin.

The Russian president said he hoped the gesture would be a symbol of improving ties between Moscow and Washington.

On Deadly Ground actor Seagal, 64, signed his new passport in front of Putin during a ceremony at the Kremlin.

There, Putin told him: "I want to congratulate you and express the hope that this is another, albeit small, gesture and it might be a sign of the gradual normalisation of relations between our countries".

It is believed that Putin has warmed to Seagal recently because of his like for martial arts and the actor's positive approach to Russia.

Putin signed an order at the start of November to grant Seagal Russian citizenship.

Vladimir Putin has warmed to actor Steven Seagal Credit: Reuters

When Putin asked how Seagal was doing at the ceremony, the actor replied that "everything is good. We will talk later. For now just honoured to be here".

Seagal is the latest Western celebrity to have been given a Russian passport in the past few years.

In 2013, Gerard Depardieu, a French actor, was given citizenship by Putin.