Ex- Strictly Come Dancing dancer Kristina Rihanoff has hit back after being branded “insensitive” for her comments on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The professional Russian ballroom dancer retweeted a cartoon criticising Western politicians’ response to Russia’s actions.
The cartoon showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau with blood on their hands. Mr Trudeau was drawn in blackface, in reference to a historic blackface scandal, Mr Johnson was holding a glass of wine, in reference to the Partygate scandal, and Mr Biden was pointing with the words “Russian man bad” written in a speech bubble
She captioned it: “Don’t even have to say anything – pure genius.” The 44-year-old later retweeted a headline shared by Sky News announcing that Russia had been kicked out of the Eurovision Song Contest. She quote-tweeted the news story with the caption: “F***ing breaking news.”
She added: “Are you for real @SkyNews? WTF! And where are we at with bringing @BorisJohnson accountable for ruining thousands of small businesses while parting during lockdowns?????? This tweet EVERYTHING WHAT’S [sic] WRONG WITH THE UK MEDIA & USELESS @GOVUK #Eurovision.”
READ MORE: Kristina Rihanoff slammed after ‘insensitive’ Russia comments
(Image: Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Her tweets provoked backlash against the dancer, with one user saying they were “completely inappropriate” and Kristina should be “ashamed”. Others said they were unfollowing her, branding her “insensitive”, adding that they were “extremely disappointed”.
The offending tweets have since been deleted, and at 6.20pm on Sunday evening (February 27), Kristina returned to Twitter to set the record straight. In her statement, she clarified her stance on the Eurovision comment and revealed her own connections to Ukraine.
She wrote: “I made fun of Eurovision tweet by Sky. I did think there was far more important information on that day than Eurovision. This is in any form says [sic] I was supporting what’s happening at the moment between Russia & Ukraine.”
She added: “It’s absolutely devastating for someone like me who’s grandad from Ukraine and I gave Ukrainian name to my daughter – Milena. My best friend is also from Ukraine. I grew up with knowledge that we were one nation and one country.”
She continued: “Seeing the news is breaking my heart as I have Russian friends who live in UKRAINE and vice versa. The awful thing is that there are casualties on both sides mums & dads will cry for their lost relatives.”
The dancer continued, adding that political leaders should have “found the way a long time ago to sort this out peacefully but they didn’t [because] war is a profitable business”. Shesaid: “I’m not supporting Putin, war, invasion, lost lives and politics. I hate it as much as a human being possibly can. If I offended anyone it wasn’t my intention and I’m deeply sorry.”
She concluded: “You can hate me if this will give you comfort but if I didn’t say something you wanted me to say it’s [because] sadly I’m powerless doing anything to help anyone in both countries and I don’t believe in useless posts which can’t help to save lives. I can only hope and pray like everyone else that this is over soon.”
The dancer was born in Russia but said she left the country 22 years ago and is now a US citizen.
Do you have a story you think we should be covering? If so, email [email protected]
Want stories like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our FREE newsletters here .