France’s Depardieu ruled ‘a danger to Ukraine’

France's Depardieu ruled 'a danger to Ukraine'
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets French actor Gerard Depardieu during their meeting in Sochi in 2013. Photo: AFP
France’s larger than life actor Gérard Depardieu has been added to a black list in Ukraine, which features names of people judged "a threat to national security", according to reports on Tuesday.

Depardieu’s name has reportedly been added to a list of around 600 individuals who have been blacklisted by the country’s ministry of culture.

Those on the list are considered a “threat for national security” and as a result Ukraine media are banned from talking about them or publishing their images.

The appearance of the controversial French actor on the black list was reported by Ouest France, who quoted Russian newspaper Vesti.

While it may appear slightly random that the star of Welcome to New York and the Asterix movies is judged a threat to Ukraine, it may not be entirely surprising.

Depardieu is a big fan of Vladimir Putin, who in January 2013 handed the French actor a Russian passport, which was warmly accepted. The actor is registered as living in the town of Saransk, with his address listed as No. 1, Democracy Street.

He has also frequently spoken out in support of the Russian president and has angered Ukrainian leaders with some of his comments at the height of the ongoing conflict in the east of the country.

According to reports Depardieu was cited for his speech at a film festival in Riga, Latvia in August 2014, when he said: “I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia.”

At the Moscow film festival in 2013 he also commended Russian president Putin.

“I do not really like presidents, I like men,” he said. “Putin is very strong. Russia needs this man. God bless his soul,” Depardieu said.

The actor is pretty much blacklisted in France too although he might not be quite judged a threat to national security, just yet.

Depardieu quit France in 2012 to become a tax resident of Belgium, a move that was judged as “pathetic” by the then French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault.

He has frequently tried to wind up the French government by claiming he “was proud to be Russian” and that called France a “sad” place led by an uninspired government where people are “fed up”.

“France is sad and I think the French are fed up. The lack of conviction… It seems that the government doesn't know how to do its job.”

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