Steven Seagal attends Putin inauguration, faces EU sanctions

Martial arts performer Steven Seagal may face sanctions from the European Union after attending Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration in Moscow.

The “Above the Law” actor, who has applauded Putin frequently in the past, had high praise for his friend as the 71-year-old authoritarian was sworn in Tuesday for his fifth term as Russia’s leader.

“He is the greatest world leader,” Seagal told reporters at the event.

The former U.S. action hero added that under Putin — who has led his nation’s ongoing, unprovoked attack on Ukraine for more than two years — Russia’s future “will be the best.”

According to Ukrainian news station RBC-Ukraine, Seagal’s support of the former KGB agent could make him the target of a sanctions package being finalized by EU officials. It’s not yet clear what those punishments might be.

Seagal supported Putin’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and continues to endorse Russia’s aggression.

The Lansing, Michigan, native was banned from Ukraine in 2017 after becoming a Russian citizen. The following year, he was named Russian Foreign Ministry humanitarian envoy to the United States.

In February 2023, Putin honored the 72-year-old actor with Russia’s Order of Friendship award, after which Seagal reportedly declared himself “one-million percent Russian.

A top Putin adviser said the U.S, U.K., Canada and all 20 European Union member states declined to send representatives to the Russian leader’s coronation, according to Newsweek. But according to the EU Observer, more than a handful of western officials were in attendance.