Photo: Justin Lane/EPA
Veteran Pink Floyd rocker Roger Waters has addressed the UN Security Council at Russia’s invitation, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. But he was denounced by the Ukrainian ambassador as “just another brick in the wall” of Moscow propaganda.
Speaking via video link, dressed in a tan tweed jacket, Waters appeared on a screen towering over representatives of the 15 nations at the council convened on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
The 79-year-old Pink Floyd co-founder had been invited by the Russian delegation to speak but claimed to represent “approximately 4 billion brothers and sisters,” the majority of humanity.
Waters owns a $62 million property on Long Island about 150 km from the UN headquarters, but on Wednesday he was speaking from Switzerland, under a wood-beamed ceiling, with a snow-capped mountain visible through the window behind him.
The Russian delegation’s invitation was followed by an interview that Waters gave to the Berliner Zeitung, in which he was very flattering to Vladimir Putin, who, according to a translation on his own website, said: “Governs carefully and takes decisions based on consensus.” in the government of the Russian Federation.”
In this February 4 interview, Waters largely blamed the West and Ukraine for the Russian invasion. However, Waters did not follow the same line in his remarks at the Security Council, blaming Russia and the West for the war.
“The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation was illegal. I condemn that in the strongest terms,” he said. “Furthermore, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked, so I also strongly condemn the provocateurs.”
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Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, glossed over Waters’ reference to the illegality of the invasion. In remarks apparently prepared before Waters spoke, the diplomat commended him for “a very thorough analysis of events”. He called him “one of the most prominent activists in the contemporary anti-war movement”.
Ukraine’s ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, spoke last and took the opportunity to draw on Pink Floyd’s musical past – and specifically the use of swimming pigs at their concerts – to eviscerate Waters.
Kyslytsya noted that Pink Floyd had been banned by the Soviet Union for protesting the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.
“It is ironic, if not hypocritical, that Mr Waters is now trying to whitewash another invasion,” the Ukrainian diplomat said. “How sad for his former fans that he accepts the role of yet another brick in the wall – the wall of Russian disinformation and propaganda.”
“Keep jamming on that guitar, Mr. Waters,” the ambassador concluded. “It suits you better than lecturing the Security Council on how to do its job. Please no flying pigs here.”