Ukraine has blacklisted French film star Gerard Depardieu. The move comes in apparent retribution for his reported refusal to recognize the independence of the former Soviet state.
Gerard Depardieu is effectively banned from entering Ukraine for five years after making several anti-Ukrainian statements in public.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed that the 66-year-old actor was barred from the country but refused to give specific reasons for the decision.
'National security threat'
Ukraine's culture ministry had previously identified Depardieu and other Russia-friendly international film stars as national security threats. Depardieu had most recently attracted the anger of Ukrainian authorities by supporting Russia's annexation of Crimea last year.
Depardieu had already outraged Kyiv's pro-Western leaders by striking up a close friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and once reportedly denying the very existence of an independent Ukraine.
"I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia," the actor was quoted as telling a film festival in the Latvian capital Riga last year.
Depardieu never denied making the comments or enjoying warm relations with Putin. It remains unclear whether the ban might extend to movies featuring the French actor.
ss/lw (AFP, AP, dpa)