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Ukraine Bans Zelenskiy Film Over Inclusion Of Russian Co-Star

Russian actress Yekaterina Varnava was banned from entering Ukraine for five years after she'd taken part in a comedy show in Crimea.

Ukraine's Cinema Agency has banned a 2012 film featuring the country's current president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, because the film includes a Russian actress blacklisted by Kyiv for making an unauthorized visit to Ukraine's Russian-occupied region of Crimea.

The Kyiv-based agency says the Russian-Ukrainian comedy Eight New Dates cannot be screened at public theaters in Ukraine due to "national security concerns" because it includes the Russian actress Yekaterina Varnava.

Varnava was banned by Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) in 2017 from entering Ukraine for five years after she'd taken part in a 2016 comedy show in Crimea without permission from Ukrainian authorities to visit the Russian-occupied region.

Crimea was forcibly annexed by Russia through a widely discredited referendum in 2014 just weeks after Russian military forces seized the territory from Ukraine.

Kyiv's newly announced list of banned films also includes a 2010 U.S. action film called Machete, featuring actor Steven Seagal, and a 2008 French fantasy adventure Les Enfants de Timpelbach that features actor Gerard Depardieu.

Seagal and Depardieu were named to Ukraine's blacklist after they'd also visited Russian-occupied Crimea without permission from Ukrainian authorities.

Before winning the presidency in an April 2019 landslide election victory, Zelenskiy was a popular comedian known in both Ukraine and Russia.

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