Updated at 22:06,23-05-2018

Gérard Depardieu set to make film about second world war French fighter pilots


French-born actor aims for historically accurate account of warplane unit that fought alongside Soviets on the eastern front.

Having become a passport-holder of the Russian Federation among others actor Gérard Depardieu is planning to solidify his relations with president Putin by making a film about a little-known episode of the second world war, in which French fighter squadrons fought alongside Soviet forces on the eastern front.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Depardieu mentioned his interest in the project while speaking to Belarussian state TV. The actor said: The project Normandie-Nieman will be based on the testimonies of people participating in those events, including General de Gaulle, who described it in his memoirs.

Normandie-Niemen was the name of the Free French air force regiment that was sent in 1943, on de Gaulles initiative, to fight with the Soviets using Russian-made Yakovlev Yak-1 planes. The unit later took part in the campaign to reconquer the Nieman river, which flows through Belarus and Lithuania, and was allowed by Stalin to add the reference to its regimental name.

Depardieu said he was looking to make a historically accurate film, and recreate the truth, the real story of the regiment.

The Normandie-Niemen was one of only two Allied air units to fight on the eastern front, the other being the British No. 151 Wing RAF, which brought its Hawker Hurricane fighters to assist in the Soviets resistance to the German invasion in 1941.