Ukraine Crisis: Palme d'Or-Winning Director Emir Kusturica Voices Support for Russia

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

The Serbian director, who has won the Cannes Film Festival's top honor twice, says "Russia ought to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and save the country from catastrophe."

MOSCOW -- Serbian director Emir Kusturica, a two-time Cannes Palm d'Or winner, has voiced support for the Russian government's stand on Ukraine.

I believe Russia ought to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and thereby save the country from a catastrophe,” Kusturitsa, who is currently touring Russia with his band No Smoking Orchestra, was quoted as saying by the Russian wire service ITAR-TASS.

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Unfortunately, Ukraine is following the same path that Yugoslavia took a while ago,” he went on to say. “And that really upsets me. The same kind of catastrophe is happening there.”

Kusturica won the Cannes Film Festival's top honor in 1985, for his film When My Father Was Away on Business, and again in 1995 -- the year after Quentin Tarantino won with Pulp Fiction -- for his film Underground

According to Kusturica, he plans to tour Ukraine with his band to support the Russian-speaking population and “other brothers.” He added that one of the songs at his upcoming concert in the Russian city of Samara would be devoted to ethnic Russians living in Ukraine.

Incidentally, Kusturica is friends with Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov, known for his pro-government and conservative views.

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Earlier, Mikhalkov condemned Ukrainian protesters who stood up for closer ties with the European Union.

I have no pity for those Ukrainians who are for the European Union,” he said at the ceremony of the Russian music awards Golden Gramophone last December. “I am on the side of those who are with Russia.”

He added that closer ties with the European Union would be “death” for Ukraine and that the European Union “doesn't need” Ukraine.