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Ukraine bans Russian films amid Crimea tensions


Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed the bill (AP)

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed the bill (AP)

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed the bill (AP)

Ukraine has banned all movies filmed in Russia after 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.

President Petro Poroshenko signed the bill, which also bans all films produced by Russian companies and Russian citizens after 1991 if they "glorify the work of government bodies" of Russia.

Russian films and television series have long dominated the Ukrainian market, where an overwhelming majority of the population is bilingual.

Ukrainian and Russia television channels have also been engaged in a decades-long partnership to co-produce films and TV series.

The ban means that no Russian film produced after January 1 2014 will be able to receive a national distribution licence required for any film to hit the screens in Ukraine.

Before the ban was imposed, Ukraine had barred dozens of Russian films and TV series by refusing to give them a licence.

The Ukrainian Cinema Agency's 2015 blacklist included more than 160 titles, including a popular series about a PE teacher and an animated series for children about trains.

Because of the shared Soviet past, millions of Ukrainians have the same adoration of Soviet-era comedies and dramas as Russians or Belarusians.

There were concerns before the ban that Kiev might move to blacklist some much-loved Soviet films which featured, for example, intelligence agents and police detectives.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia soured in 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and threw its support behind separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The fighting between the rebels and government troops there left more than 9,100 dead.

Despite European mediation, a ceasefire in the east barely holds and a political settlement looks like a distant prospect.