The Kremlin has responded to comments actor Gerard Depardieu made about Russian President Vladimir Putin's "crazy, unacceptable excesses" in Ukraine — behavior that he said the people of Russia were not responsible for.
In response to the accusations, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was likely that Depardieu did not fully understand the situation in Ukraine, according to BBC. He then offered to explain it to the actor.
In 2013, Depardieu left France and took Russian citizenship, receiving his Russian passport from Putin in person at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. At the time the two men shook hands and hugged and Depardieu described Russia as "a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby," according to BBC.
"I love your country, Russia — its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence," he further stated.
Two years later Ukraine banned Depardieu for five years for making public comments suggesting that he supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014. He was blacklisted along with 117 prominent entertainment figures "who have spoken out in support of the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty" for five years, according to Variety.
Despite this, Depardieu has denounced the war in Ukraine, calling for negotiations shortly after it began in February.
"Russia and Ukraine have always been brother countries. Stop the weapons and negotiate," he told AFP at the time.
"The Russian people are not responsible for the crazy, unacceptable excesses of their leaders like Vladimir Putin," he is cited as saying by the BBC.
On Thursday Depardieu offered to donate all proceeds from three nights of concerts in Paris, starting Friday night, to Ukrainian victims of "this tragic fratricidal war."
He included part of his interview with AFP in a post on Instagram with the quote about the war featured over a photo of his face. The caption of the post read "peace" in French.
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