Ukraine slaps broadcast ban on 13 Russian artists -- including Depardieu

8th August 2015, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine on Saturday named 13 pro-Russian actors and singers whose work would be banned from TV, radio and cinema, including France's Gerard Depardieu.

The blacklist issued by the ministry of culture described the 13 as "a threat to national security" for supporting President Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea and his backing of Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Songs by these performers will be barred from the airwaves, and permits for screening their films will be withdrawn in the near future, ministry spokeswoman Daryna Glushchenko told AFP.

Depardieu, a Russian citizen since 2013, incensed the pro-Western leadership in Kiev by striking up a close friendship with Putin and for reportedly even denying the existence of an independent Ukraine.

In July, Ukraine said it was banning the flamboyant 66-year-old French-born star from entering the country for five years.

Other names on the new blacklist include the 77-year-old Russian crooner and legislator Iosif -- Joseph Kobzon -- who has been dubbed "the Soviet Frank Sinatra."

Iosif is already being targeted by European sanctions for his support for pro-Russian separatists and concerts in Donetsk, the rebel hub in eastern Ukraine, where he was born.

Another is Mikhail Boyarsky, a Soviet-era movie star, who is accused by the Kiev government of signing an open letter support the annexation of Crimea, Glushchenko said.

Depardieu's career has been studded with hits such as "Cyrano de Bergerac," "Green Card," "The Last Metro" and "Jean de Florette."

His success has waned in recent years, although his movies remain popular in the ex-Soviet nations and he is a household name in Ukraine.

The actor left France in protest over a proposed tax on the super-rich. He was handed a Russian passport by Putin himself in January 2013 and took up residency in Belgium.

© 2015 AFP

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