Palme d'Or-Winning Director Banned From Visiting Ukraine

Emir Kusturica - Opening Of Fellini Exhibition - 2010
Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images

The ban resulted from his support of the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.

Palme d’Or-winning Serbian director Emir Kusturica has been banned from visiting Ukraine over his support for the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia.

He was supposed to participate in a series of events, including a concert aimed to mark the 1000th anniversary of the burial of Kiev's Prince Vladimir the Great, later this month.

But Ukraine's culture ministry addressed the country's interior ministry and security service, requesting that the director be banned from visiting the country, given his numerous statements in which Kusturica expressed support for Russia's policies towards Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Many leading Ukrainian cultural personalities supported the ministry's move.

"Emir Kusturica will be banned from entering Ukraine," a source in Ukrainian law enforcement agencies was quoted as saying by the news agency Ukrainian National News.

Later, news came that a concert, in which Kusturica was scheduled to perform alongside several Russian and Ukrainian artists on July 28, was also canceled. "We'll be celebrating at home and in churches," said Oleg Karamazov, one of the organizers, on his Facebook account.

As soon as the Maidan revolution toppled president Viktor Yanukovych's pro-Russian regime in February 2014, Kusturica condemned the pro-European side, comparing the events in Ukraine with those in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.