(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to U.S. boxer Kevin Johnson and Canadian ice hockey participant Brendan Leipsic underneath a decree printed on a Russian authorities web site on Tuesday.

Russian newspaper Izvestia reported in September that heavyweight boxer Johnson had requested Putin for Russian citizenship, shortly after Johnson adopted the Russian-style patronymic Vladimirovich – a call he mentioned he took in honour of the Russian chief.

Leipsic, who was sacked by the Washington Capitals in 2020 after making misogynist feedback and inappropriate remarks about different gamers, has since performed for Russian ice hockey groups. In July, Russian media reported that he had written to Putin asking for citizenship.

Russia has beforehand given citizenship to a string of Western celebrities who’ve requested it and publicly spoken out in help of Russia, together with U.S. actor Steven Seagal and French actor Gerard Depardieu.

(Reporting by Felix Mild, Modifying by Timothy Heritage)

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