Ukraine slams Roger Waters over UN Security Council speech

The Pink Floyd star argued that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was provoked during an address to diplomats in New York.

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters is seen speaking on a video screen during a U.N. Security Council meeting on Ukraine at the United Nations headquarters in New York City
Moscow requested the Security Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss the delivery of weapons to Ukraine by its Western allies [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

Ukraine has denounced Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters for claiming that Russia’s invasion was “not unprovoked”.

In an address to the United Nations Security Council delivered on Wednesday at Russia’s invitation, Waters said he condemned Moscow’s offensive, describing it as “illegal”.

But the 79-year-old – who has previously praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and criticised the West for supplying Ukraine with arms – then implied that Kyiv and its allies were partly to blame for the conflict as well.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked. So I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms,” Waters told diplomats in New York City via video link, without referring to any specific individuals, groups or countries.

“The only sensible course of action today is to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine,” he added.

Waters’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, who accused the musician of attempting to “whitewash” Moscow’s actions.

“In 1979, Pink Floyd came up with a song, Another Brick in the Wall. The same year the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and after the invasion was condemned by Pink Floyd” Kyslytsya said.

“It is ironic, if not hypercritical, that Mr. Walters attempts now to whitewash another invasion. How sad for his former fans to see him accepting the role of just a brick in the wall. The wall of Russian disinformation and propaganda.”

The United States, which is Ukraine’s most prominent backer in the West, also denounced Waters.

“We’ve been brought together today once again to hear another version of why Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine is actually the fault of Ukraine or Ukraine’s partners. Or, in Mr Waters words, Ukraine friends who are provocateurs,” Richard Mills, the US deputy ambassador to the UN, told the 15-member Security Council.

“We unequivocally reject the victim-blaming notion that Ukraine’s self-defence is the obstacle to ending this war. No one wants peace in Ukraine more than Ukrainians themselves. It is Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity that has been violated, not Russia’s,” he said.

Visual of countries sending weapons to Ukraine.

In September last year, Waters argued against the Western supply of weapons and accused Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of allowing “extreme nationalism” to flourish.

In an open letter to Zelenskyy’s wife Olena Zelenska, Waters wrote: “Sadly, your old man agreed to those totalitarian, anti-democratic dismissals of the will of the Ukrainian people, and the forces of extreme nationalism that had lurked, malevolent, in the shadows, have, since then, ruled the Ukraine.”

“They have, also since then, crossed any number of red lines that had been set out quite clearly over a number of years by your neighbours the Russian Federation and in consequence they, the extreme nationalists, have set your country on the path to this disastrous war,” he added.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” designed to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” the country.

Kyiv and its Western allies reject Moscow’s rationales, arguing that Russia is waging a war of aggression aimed at seizing land and subjugating Ukraine.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies