Bolshoi's Lead Dancer Leaves Russia Over Invasion Of Ukraine

A principal dancer for the famed Bolshoi Theater in Moscow has left Russia for the Netherlands in protest of her country's unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

The Dutch National Ballet said in a statement that it welcomed Olga Smirnova to its repertoire after "she recently spoke out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which makes it untenable for her to continue working in Russia."

On March 1, Smirnova wrote on Telegram that she was "ashamed of Russia" over its aggression against Ukraine.

"It is not even about the fact that every second Russian has relatives or friends living in Ukraine, that my grandfather is Ukrainian, and I am one-quarter Ukrainian. It is about the fact that we continue living in the 20th century although we have entered the 21st century. Political issues in the modern world must be solved exclusively by peaceful talks," Smirnova's Telegram statement said.

Smirnova is one of the best-known celebrities in Russia to leave the country since the war in Ukraine began on February 24.