Vladimir Putin backs J.K. Rowling in "cancel culture" row

In a live speech broadcast this morning about his invasion of Ukraine, Russian premier Vladimir Putin diverted into another subject dear to his heart: the west's "cancellation" of J.K. Rowling, the billionaire Harry Potter author and anti-trans campaigner.

"They canceled Jo Rowling recently, the children's author," Putin said, according to one translator. "Just because she didnt satisfy the demands of gender rights. They're now canceling our country. … They're engaging in the cancel culture."

"It's impossible to imagine such a thing in our country," Putin added, before reaffirming that Russia's bombing of civilian targets in Ukraine would end only with its capitulation.

Update: Rowling responds: