Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Sanctions Anna Netrebko

By Francisco Salazar

Russian-Austrian soprano Anna Netrebko has been sanctioned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The soprano was one of 119 individuals sanctioned, most of them Russian show-business and film stars as well as media personalities. The list also included Oscar-winning movie director Nikita Mikhalkov and pop singer Dmitry (Dima) Bilan, who has performed at the Eurovision song contest.

The sanctions ban the Russian soprano from entering the country and freezes any assets in Ukraine.

Netrebko has allegedly been linked to Vladimir Putin even though she has condemned the war on three occasions. Her last statement in March stated, “I expressly condemn the war on Ukraine and my thoughts are with the victims of this war and their families. My position is clear. I am not a member of any political party nor am I allied with any leader of Russia. I acknowledge and regret that past actions or statements of mine could have been misinterpreted. In fact, I have met President Putin only a handful of times in my entire life, most notably on the occasion of receiving awards in recognition of my art or at the Olympics opening ceremony. I have otherwise never received any financial support from the Russian Government, and live and am a tax resident in Austria.”

That statement caused her to be called a traitor and many of her concerts in Russia were subsequently canceled. She has not returned to Russia since the beginning of the war. In an interview for Zeit Online, the soprano said she would not perform in Russia for the time being because “I don’t think it’s the right time.”