PARIS– French actor Gerard Depardieu, who was granted a Russian passport from Vladimir Putin in Jan. 2013, has been banned from entering Ukraine for five years.
The ban, ordered by the country’s culture minister Ivan Kirilenko and proclaimed by the national secret services, reportedly sanctions Depardieu for making public comments suggesting that he supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
Earlier this month, Kirilenko had revealed that Depardieu was blacklisted along with 117 prominent entertainment figures “who have spoken out in support of the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
Depardieu’s decision to become a Russian citizen two years caused a public backlash and diplomatic incident in France where he was accused of fleeing the country to avoid paying high taxes. The actor has however demonstrated his attachment to Russia throughout the years and routinely defends Russia’s international policies in the media.
At 66, the actor is still leading a dynamic career. His latest movie, Guillaume Nicloux’s “Valley of Love” world premiered in competition at Cannes, and he has been cast to topline “Marseille,” Netflix’s first French-language original drama series.