U.S. boxer Johnson, Canadian ice hockey player Leipsic get Russian citizenship

Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to U.S. boxer Kevin Johnson and Canadian ice hockey player Brendan Leipsic.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to U.S. boxer Kevin Johnson and Canadian ice hockey player Brendan Leipsic under a decree published on a Russian government website on Tuesday.

Russian newspaper Izvestia reported in September that heavyweight boxer Johnson had asked Putin for Russian citizenship, shortly after Johnson adopted the Russian-style patronymic Vladimirovich – a decision he said he took in honour of the Russian leader.

Leipsic, who was sacked by the Washington Capitals in 2020 after making misogynist comments and inappropriate remarks about other players, has since played for Russian ice hockey teams. In July, Russian media reported that he had written to Putin asking for citizenship.

Russia has previously given citizenship to a string of Western celebrities who have requested it and publicly spoken out in support of Russia, including U.S. actor Steven Seagal and French actor Gerard Depardieu.

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