The Kremlin has responded to Gérard Depardieu’s criticism of Vladimir Putin over the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
On Thursday (March 31), the French actor accused the Russian president of “crazy, unacceptable excesses” in Ukraine, after he ordered a military operation on its neighbouring country in February.
“The Russian people are not responsible for the crazy, unacceptable excesses of their leaders like Vladimir Putin,” Depardieu, who has previously praised the Russian leader, said in a statement to French news agency AFP (per France 24).
“Russia and Ukraine have always been brother countries,” he continued. “Stop the weapons and negotiate.”
On Friday (April 1), Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Putin, responded to Depardieu’s comments, telling reporters that the actor probably did not completely understand the situation in Ukraine and offered to explain it.
“Since the president is mentioned there, I will assume that Depardieu most likely does not fully understand what is happening,” Peskov said on Friday (via News Interfax).
He continued: “Due to the fact that he is not completely immersed in the political agenda, he does not understand what happened in Ukraine in 1914, he does not understand what the Minsk agreements are, he does not understand what Donetsk and Lugansk are, he hardly understands what is the bombing of civilians, he is unlikely to know about nationalist elements.”
“If necessary, we will be ready to tell him all this and explain it so that he understands better. If he wants,” Peskov concluded.
Depardieu left France and took up Russian nationality in 2013 to protest a proposed tax hike on the rich in his homeland. He received his Russian passport from President Putin in person in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
At the time, the actor and Putin shook hands and hugged each other, with Depardieu comparing the Russian president to the late pope John Paul II; he described Russia as “a great democracy”.
In 2015, Ukraine banned him from entering the country for five years after he supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Despite this, the actor denounced the war in Ukraine shortly after it began back in February and called for negotiations.
Depardieu has also said that he would donate all the proceeds from three nights of concerts in Paris to “Ukrainian victims of this tragic fratricidal war”.
The concert, which took place at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire last month, was a “reminder of the power of music”, according to Mike Malek, the Russian rapper’s agent.
Funds raised were donated to efforts supporting Ukrainian refugees impacted by Russia’s February 24 invasion of their country. The show followed the news that Oxxxymiron had cancelled six sold-out shows in Moscow in protest of the war.
The likes of Arcade Fire, Patti Smith and Franz Ferdinand have performed at Ukraine fundraiser shows recently. Elsewhere, The Cure launched a new charity band t-shirt as Massive Attack confirmed plans to sell off special artwork to raise funds.