Oscar-winning Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov has been warned against using an illegal border crossing to enter the rebel-held Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, where the director intends to show his most recent film Sunstroke in May. The Ukrainian security services (SBU) have said that “appropriate action will be taken” if the director enters into the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic via any illegal control points held by rebels.
“Entering through areas of the border [with Russia] that are now under the control of militants in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions is illegal,” Markiyan Lubkivsky, a spokesperson from the SBU’s press office, told news website Apostrof. Since April 2014, Luhansk has been one of the regions at the heart of fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels.
Mikhalkov, a vocal supporter of Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year, is one of a number of Russian cultural figures who have been slammed by Ukrainian authorities for their position on Crimea and the Ukraine crisis. In August last year, Ukrainian authorities announced that they were preparing to blacklist around 500 Russian cultural figures from entering Ukraine due to their support for the Russian President’s position on Ukraine and Crimea.
Sunstroke, set in Crimea during the civil war that followed the Russian Revolution in 1917, was released in 2014, and is loosely based on the book Cursed Days by Nobel Prize-winning Russian writer Ivan Bunin.