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Ukraine Blacklists French Actor Gerard Depardieu For Five Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) has struck up a rapport with French actor Gerard Depardieu (left, file photo).

Ukraine has blacklisted French film star, now Russian national, Gerard Depardieu, barring him from entering the country for five years, a spokeswoman for the National Security Service of Ukraine said on July 28.

Ukraine's Culture Ministry has identified Depardieu and other Russia-friendly international film stars as national security threats whose movies should be banned.

Depardieu first exasperated Kyiv's new pro-Western leaders thanks to his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He once reportedly even denied the very existence of an independent Ukraine.

"I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia," the actor was widely quoted as saying last year.

Depardieu never denied making the comments or enjoying warm relations with Putin, who backed the rule of corruption-tainted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych ousted by pro-European protests last year.

The acclaimed but controversial French actor left Paris in protest over a proposed tax on the super-rich and was handed a Russian passport by Putin in January 2013.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP