Hollywood actor Steven Seagal says he talks philosophy with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The star, 65, sparked controversy when he took Russian citizenship last year.
He told Good Morning Britain it was not “uncommon” for people in the US to have dual citizenship with Russia, adding: “I love the country.” He said of Putin: “He’s one of the great world leaders, he’s brilliant, he’s articulate, he’s a great tactician.
“Him and I started out becoming friends over the martial arts. We don’t have a political relationship. We really talk about the martial arts and philosophy and people and dilemmas in life, that kind of thing.”
Seagal criticised American football stars for kneeling during the national anthem, calling the protest an “outrage”.
“I believe in free speech… but I don’t agree that they should hold the United States of America or the world hostage by taking a venue where people are tuning in to watch a football game and imposing their political views,” he said.
“I think it’s outrageous, I think it’s a joke, it’s disgusting.” NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protests last year to bring attention to police brutality against minorities.