Actor Steven Seagal © Jeff Zelevansky / Reuters
The US action movie star Steven Seagal has been barred from entering Ukraine for five years after the Ukrainian security service (SBU) labeled him a security threat and placed him on a blacklist.
“A decision concerning an entry ban is taken if there is enough information… about a person committing a socially dangerous act that contradicts the interests of Ukraine’s security protection irrespective of a territory where it was committed,” the SBU said in a written response to the Ukrainian media outlet Apostrophe.
The statement also said that an offense committed by a person should fall under the jurisdiction of the SBU for this person to be banned from entering Ukraine. However, it did not provide any details that could shed light as to why the US actor captured the attention of the Ukrainian security service.
The SBU spokeswoman also confirmed the ban to another Ukrainian media organisation, UNN.
Seagal took the news about his ban from Ukraine with sarcasm.
“Apart from a black belt, I have a black list now,” Seagal said, according to his representative, who also told TASS that the actor has a 7th dan (degree) in the modern Japanese martial art aikido.
In July 2015, Seagal was declared persona non grata by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture along with some 600 other people no longer welcome in Ukraine.
The US superstar was singled out by Kiev after taking the stage during a concert in the Crimean Black Sea port city of Sevastopol in August 2014, organized by Russian biker club, the Night Wolves.
Seagal, famous for a string of action movies including Under Siege and On Deadly Ground, was awarded Russian citizenship on November 3.
Russian President Vladimir Putin personally presented the Hollywood star, whose father’s parents emigrated from Russia, with a Russian passport at the Kremlin weeks later.
Seagal is not the first celebrity to be banned from entering Ukraine as Kiev has denied entry to a range of public figures, including politicians, actors and athletes.
In 2015, the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was barred from entering Ukraine for three years in the “interests of national security.”
Earlier the same year, Ukraine blacklisted famous French actor Gerard Depardieu for five years, as its security service also classed him a “threat to the national security.”
Depardieu was made a Russian citizen in 2013.
In August 2015, Kiev added US boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. to its blacklist. The Ukrainian authorities apparently considered the renowned boxer an especially grave threat as they did not only ban him permanently from entering Ukraine, but also threatened him with a criminal case. Prior to the ban, Jones visited Crimea and asked Putin to grant him Russian citizenship.