- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

VIENNA (AP) - Opera star Anna Netrebko says she doesn’t want to get involved in Ukraine’s politics. But her appearance with a separatist spokesman is being interpreted as taking sides by the government of Austria, her adopted home.

Netrebko on Monday gave separatist Oleg Tsaryov a check for 1 million rubles (more than $18,000). She also accepted a flag of his self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Netrebko said the check was to support performing artists in the enclave. She declined an invitation to visit Donetsk, saying she doesn’t want to get involved in politics.

But Austria’s Foreign Ministry describes her appearance and acceptance of the flag as “problematic.” It said Tuesday that photos of the event “will be immediately used for propaganda purposes.”

Netrebko has dual Austrian-Russian citizenship.

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