Gérard Depardieu a ‘national security threat’ to Ukraine
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French actor Gérard Depardieu has been added to a blacklist of people considered a “national security threat” to Ukraine, media reports said Tuesday.
Depardieu’s name was added to a blacklist of around 600 artists and performers drawn up by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture at the beginning of July due to the actor’s close ties to the Russian government, according to French regional daily Ouest France which cited Russian newspaper Vesti.
Ukrainian media are banned from mentioning or showing images of those on the list, while their films, songs or other works cannot be broadcast or published in the country, said the newspaper.
Depardieu, who took Russian citizenship in 2013, has frequently expressed his admiration for the country’s president Vladimir Putin as well as angering the Ukrainian government with comments about the ongoing fighting in the country’s east.
Depardieu 'prepared to die for Russia’
At a film festival in Riga, Latvia in August 2014, just months after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Depardieu declared: “I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia.”
The year before, this time at a film festival in Moscow, he spoke out in support of Putin, saying: “I do not really like presidents, I like men. Putin is very strong. Russia needs this man. God bless his soul.”
Depardieu quit France for Belgium in December 2012 and said he was handing back his French passport in protest over government plans for a tax hike on high earners.
Putin himself then signed a decree in January 2013 granting the 66-year-old Russian citizenship. A month later, Depardieu registered himself as a resident of the Russian city of Saransk – though it is unclear how much time the actor, who has described himself as a “citizen of the world”, actually spends there.
Since then, the actor has frequently lambasted his country of birth while declaring his love for Russia.
“I am prepared to die for Russia because the people there are strong,” he said in a Vanity Fair interview earlier this year. “I absolutely do not want to die in the France of today like an idiot.”