Ukraine has slammed HBO, the makers of ‘The White Lotus’, for casting a pro-Putin actor Milos Bikovic, who was given a medal of honour by Putin for his services to the arts, and has consistently supported his invasive actions against Ukraine and Crimea.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs boldly called HBO out for its decision to cast Serbian actor Milos Biković in the upcoming third season of its hit show, The White Lotus, asking the network: “Dear HBO, do you really support genocide?”
The ministry published a video showing Biković, 36, shaking Vladimir Putin’s hand at a ceremony where he was handed a top cultural prize, reports dailymail.co.uk.
He was handed the Pushkin medal in 2018, and was awarded Russian citizenship in 2021.
Biković said at the time: ‘It is a great honour to say today: Russia is my homeland.’
He added that he was “an active member of Russian society.”
It was reported that in 2019, he claimed the he was banned from entering Ukraine for national security reasons. Ukraine claims that he support’s Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and said he has filmed TV shows in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Putin’s forces in 2014.
A resurfaced clip showed Bikovic telling a reporter that he supported the annexation.
He said in response to a broad question about Crimea: “It differs from the fact that Russians live there.”
Asked whether this was enough of a reason Russia to “take it away and assign it to itself,” the actor said: “(Crimeans) do it themselves, as the referendum.”
A graduate of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, Bikovic has almost exclusively starred in Russian or Serbian TV, film and theatre productions over his 20-year career.
His role in ‘The White Lotus’ will be his first in a Western production.