(Chisinau) The group of Serbo-Croatian composer Goran Bregovic was refused this weekend for questions of “security” entry into Moldova, a country bordering Ukraine which has greatly tightened its controls since the beginning of the war.

According to a source close to the government contacted by AFP on Monday, the 73-year-old star “has been on a list since 2022 because of his pro-Russian positions”.

His group arrived on Saturday and were not allowed entry. He himself therefore did not fly the next day as originally planned.

Goran Bregovic gave a concert in Crimea in March 2015, shortly after its annexation by Russia, an attitude criticized by Ukrainians who consider it a sign of support for Moscow. In Poland, a festival immediately canceled his performance.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Goran Bregovic rarely raises the issue except in an interview given in May to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, where he said “to mourn all the dead, soldiers and civilians, Ukrainians and Russians”.

“A generation wiped out over a border issue. Power has no mercy, no regard for suffering,” he said.

“We are sorry to inform you that Goran Bregovic and his troupe will not be able to perform tonight, for reasons beyond the control of the organizers or the artists,” the Gustar Music Festival announced on Sunday, one hour from the capital Chisinau. .

“Unfortunately, they were not allowed to enter the Republic of Moldova, even though they had already landed at the airport,” according to a message posted on Facebook.

In a reaction broadcast by the festival, Goran Bregovic said he was “very disappointed”, lamenting having received “no official explanation”.

“I’ve been touring with my musicians all over Europe and I’ve never encountered any difficulties,” he added.

The Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra, winner of Eurovision 2022, was also scheduled for Sunday.

According to the border police, the organizers had been informed in advance of this ban taken as early as 2022, in the context of “security measures” decided in cooperation with intelligence services and international partners.

The authorities of the former Soviet republic are on alert amid heightened tensions with Moscow, accused of wanting to destabilize pro-European power to install a government committed to its cause.

Born in Sarajevo in 1950 to a Serbian mother and a Croatian father, Goran Bregovic was a rock star in the former Yugoslavia in the 1970s/1980s at the head of the group Bijelo Dugme.

The guitarist then turned to a career as a composer, signing the music for several films by Emir Kusturica (Le temps des gypsies or Underground), or La Reine Margot by Frenchman Patrice Chéreau in 1994.