A statement by Danish director Lars von Trier, who wrote on social media that “Russian lives also matter”, has attracted attention in Kiev and Moscow. According to the Russian edition of the BBC, Von Trier’s social media post was in response to the Danish government’s pledge to provide 19 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, which is resisting a Russian invasion.
The message read “Russian lives matter too! Best wishes, Lars,” the director posted on his Instagram to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
In addition, he wrote that Frederiksen had recently posed “in the cockpit of one of the most terrible killing machines of our time” and “laughed from ear to ear as if she were head over heels in love”. The Danish prime minister had her picture taken in the cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet during Zelensky’s visit to Denmark on Sunday.
Von Trier’s message was criticised by Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, who described it as “hypocritical humanism”.
“For every living Russian terrorist there is a dead Ukrainian,” he said, according to the BBC. He advised the filmmaker to imagine that every day a Russian missile is flying into his town and could kill his parents, or that Russian soldiers are threatening to rape his wife, burn his house or take his grandchild to Russia.
The Danish artist’s message, on the other hand, was welcomed by Margarita Simonyan, a journalist for the propaganda Russian channel RT. She said that it is not far from the statement that the lives of Russians matter to the idea that “the lives of the people of Donbass also matter”. She added that this “completely changes the narrative about the causes of the war”. Russia has long explained its incursion into Ukraine by seeking to protect the Russian-speaking residents of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. But the Russian invasion has so far devastated many cities there and caused many civilian casualties.