The Russian pop star winced as the black kitten he was cuddling in Russian-occupied Ukraine licked the crook of his neck for about the 15th time.
Several weeks earlier, the musician, Dima Bilan, had been in Moscow, mingling in a see-through shirt with celebrities at an “almost naked” theme party that caused an uproar in Russia and threatened to end his career.
Now Mr. Bilan, who once won the Eurovision song contest, was on an image rehabilitation tour in a winter war zone — the newly prescribed path for celebrities who find themselves out in the cold in wartime Russia and wish to return to the Kremlin’s embrace.
He petted dogs and stroked kittens at animal shelters outside Donetsk. He handed out plush toys to convalescing children at a medical trauma center. He delivered new air-conditioning units to a facility in need.