Russian crooner sings in Ukraine with rebel leader

Associated Press

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — In defiance of Ukraine, a revered Soviet-era crooner has traveled from Russia to the rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine to perform in support of separatists fighting the Ukrainian government.

Ukraine had warned 77-year-old Iosif Kobzon, a Russian singer and lawmaker who has publicly supported the pro-Russia separatists, that he would not be allowed to enter the country.

Still, Russian television showed him being driven into eastern Ukraine along the same route the rebels use to bring in weapons and recruits.

Wearing his trademark wig, Kobzon performed Monday in Donetsk to an ecstatic audience of elderly people and gun-wielding men, delighting them with patriotic songs such as the Cold War-era classic “Do the Russians Want a War?”

Kobzon finished with a duet with camouflaged rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko.

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