The Cyrano de Bergerac star took up citizenship in Russia in 2013 following a dispute over taxes in his native France, and he has been full of praise for his adopted country ever since.

Last year (14), at a film festival in Latvia, he declared, "I love Russia and Ukraine, which is part of Russia", while he recently admitted he has grown very fond of President Vladimir Putin, telling press at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival he likes the controversial leader "very much".

His statements have allegedly infuriated officials at the Ministry of Culture in Ukraine, and they are said to have added Depardieu's name to the list of 500 foreign figures not welcome in the country, according to Russian state news agency ITAR-TASS.

Fellow actor Steven Seagal is also on the government's list of those who "speak out in support of violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine", after declaring Putin's 2014 invasion of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea "very reasonable".

He also called Putin "one of the greatest living world leaders" and told reporters he considers the politician "a brother".

Meanwhile, Depardieu has been busy befriending another controversial head of state after paying an unexpected visit to the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, on Wednesday (22Jul15).

The actor has been staying at the politician's residence, near the capital city of Minsk, and he appeared on national TV alongside Lukashenko, who gave his new pal a lesson in hand-scything.

Lukashenko, once considered Europe's last dictator by U.S. authorities as, is currently running for office, and is expected to win the nation's election later this year (15). He has been in power in Belarus since the nation held its first presidential elections in 1994.