Gerard Depardieu left France for Russia, but he won’t be leaving Russia for Ukraine any time soon -- because that former Soviet nation won’t let him in.
The 66-year-old actor has been banned from Ukraine for five years, courtesy of the country’s national security service, after supporting Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea, according to local reports cited by the Associated Press.
Fleeing what he said were exorbitant French taxes, Depardieu was granted a Russian passport in January 2013 by President Vladimir Putin. And the actor is kind of pals with Putin. And Putin’s the one who got an itch to take Crimea from Ukraine in the midst of upheaval in the latter country, and sent his military to do just that. And at a film festival in Latvia, Depardieu made public statements that seemed to support his BFF’s endeavor.
“I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia,” the actor was quoted as saying at the festival, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
Now Depardieu is, Variety says, among more than 100 entertainers whom the Ukrainian culture minister blacklisted this month because they had, in his words, “spoken out in support of the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”