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ACCLAIMED SOVIET UNION-BORN DANCER MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV TELLS “CBS SUNDAY MORNING” HE CAN NO LONGER STAY SILENT ON RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE

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World-renowned ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov made international headlines when he defected from the Soviet Union in 1974. He has largely remained non-political ever since. Now, in an interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING, Baryshnikov tells Anthony Mason that he can no longer stay silent about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The interview will be broadcast Sunday, June 19 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network and streamed on Paramount+.

“I couldn’t stay silent this time,” Baryshnikov says, “I was born in Soviet – at that time Soviet Latvia – in a family of a military officer.”

Recently, Baryshnikov co-founded True Russia, a charity to raise money for Ukrainian refugees. When Russia banned its website, Baryshnikov wrote an open letter to President Vladimir Putin. He wrote Putin’s Russian world – the world of fear – would “die from its own horror unless it wakes up.”

Here’s an excerpt from Mason’s interview with Baryshnikov.

ANTHONY MASON: What did you think when Putin said Russians who support the West are scum and traitors?

MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV: You know, this is disgusting.

MASON: Do you think of this as Russia’s war? Or Putin’s war?

BARYSHNIKOV: It is Putin’s war … He’s trying to create a new history of Russia … He does not care about people at all … although how it’s possible, he has kids himself, you know? How it’s possible?

MASON: Russians who speak out against him have a way of kind of disappearing.

BARYSHNIKOV: Listen, I will be 75 years old. What have I to lose?

Baryshnikov also talks with Mason about his work in the new production of “The Orchard” at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, his efforts at the center that bears his name and more.

CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.

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Richard Huff Huffr@cbsnews.com