Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters was denounced by Ukraine Wednesday after he told the United Nations Security Council that Russia’s invasion of its neighbor was “not unprovoked.”
The 79-year-old, who has sparked controversy before this with his stance on the war, was invited by Moscow to address the 15-member Council.
“The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation was illegal. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” the British musician said via video.
But Waters then implied that Kyiv was to blame as well.
“Also the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked. So I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms,” he said, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador hit back, playing on the title of one of Pink Floyd’s most famous songs.
“How sad for his former fans to see him accepting the role of just a brick in the wall, a wall of Russian disinformation and propaganda,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya.
Kyiv’s representative even referenced the giant inflatable pink pig that featured in many of the progressive rock band’s shows. He said he was surprised the bassist had not arranged to have it floating in the Security Council chamber.
“What could it have been this time Mr Waters? Pigs with swastikas and the hammer and sickle?” Kyslytsya asked during the surreal discussion.
The Security Council has held numerous debates on the war but has failed to take any action due to Russia’s veto.
“If this is a toothless chamber, I can open my big mouth on behalf of the voices without fear of getting my head bitten off,” Waters said.
Russia requested the meeting to discuss arms supplied to Ukraine by the West.
U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills said of Waters: “While I certainly acknowledge his impressive credentials as a recording artist, his qualifications to speak to us as an expert briefer on arms control or European security issues, are less evident to me.”
Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia welcomed the participation of a man he called “one of the most prominent activists of the contemporary anti-war movement.”
Last September, Waters was declared persona non grata by the Polish city of Krakow after his concerts were scrapped there over his war stance.
Waters had written an open letter that month saying the West should stop providing arms to Kyiv, accusing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of allowing “extreme nationalism” in Ukraine and urging him to “put an end to this deadly war.”
This week, Pink Floyd songwriter Polly Samson, wife of band member David Gilmour, called Waters “anti-Semitic” and “a Putin apologist” in a tweet.
Waters responded by posting a statement on Twitter that said he “refutes entirely” Samson’s accusation.
Pink Floyd reunited last year, without Waters, to release a single in support of Ukraine.
© 2023 AFP