The Kremlin on Friday offered to “explain” Moscow’s actions in Ukraine to French actor Gérard Depardieu after he denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “crazy, unacceptable excesses”.
Depardieu, who took up Russian nationality in 2013, told Agence France Presse on Thursday that the Russian people were not responsible for “the crazy, unacceptable excesses of their leaders like Vladimir Putin.”
Depardieu also said he would give all the proceeds from three nights of concerts in Paris from April 1 to “Ukrainian victims of this tragic fratricidal war”.
The 72-year-old French actor has been a friend of Putin, but came out against the conflict in Ukraine and called for negotiations just days after the start of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
The Kremlin said on Friday it was ready to explain the situation in Ukraine to Depardieu.
“I’d suggest that Depardieu most likely does not fully understand what is happening,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“He does not understand what happened in Ukraine in 2014,” Peskov said, referring to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“If necessary, we will be ready to tell him about this and explain so that he understands better,” Peskov added.
In 2013, when Putin granted Depardieu Russian citizenship, it sparked an outcry in France where the actor was accused of abandoning his homeland to avoid a new tax rate for millionaires.
The acclaimed French actor and star of films such as “The Last Metro” and “Cyrano de Bergerac”, received his new passport in person from Putin at the Russian leader’s residence on the Black Sea coast.
In 2015, a year after the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, Ukraine banned Depardieu from entering the country.
Depardieu is currently facing rape charges in France, where he is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a young actress at his home in Paris in August 2018. The actor has denied the charges, dismissing them as “baseless”.
On Friday, one Russian lawmaker, Sultan Khamzayev, said Depardieu should be stripped of Russian citizenship and his property handed over to orphans.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)