France’s Depardieu ruled ‘a danger to Ukraine’

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.

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

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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France’s Macron to host Putin ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed Saturday he had invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for talks on August 19th, days before hosting a G7 summit.

France's Macron to host Putin ahead of G7 summit
Photo: AFP

Macron said the meeting with Putin would take place at his summer retreat, the medieval fort of Bregancon near the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas on France's Mediterranean coast.

Speaking in Bormes-les-Mimosas, he said the fort was chosen because it offers the possibility “to work in isolation… and receive foreign leaders, which I will do with Vladimir Putin in a few weeks' time”. 

Following the bilateral talks, leaders from the world's seven most developed nations are set to gather in the southwestern French city of Biarritz on August 24th-26th.

France holds the 2019 presidency of the G7, which also includes Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

Russia was slung out of what used to be the G8 in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

In late June, Macron had already announced he planned to meet Putin after the two leaders had a long conversation.

“I believe that within the framework of the G7, it's essential that we take this initiative (with Russia)… in order to explore all the forms of cooperation on key topics of destabilisation or conflict, without naivety but without closing the door,” he had said at the time.

Macron interrupted his holiday in Bregancon on Saturday for a one-day trip to Tunisia to attend the funeral of president Beji Caid Essebsi.

By the evening, he was back in Bormes-les-Mimosas where he posed for pictures with onlookers.

Last year, Macron came under attack after it emerged that he had installed a 34,000 swimming pool at Bregancon as part of renovations. 

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