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Roger Waters asked by Russia to address United Nations

It comes days after the rift between Waters and David Gilmour deepened

By Joe Goggins

Roger Waters on stage in San Jose, 2017
Waters has ben outspoken in his criticism of Western aid to Ukraine. (Photo: David Baker/Wikimedia Commons)

Roger Waters has been asked by Russia to address the United Nations on the issue of the supply of weapons to Ukraine.

The founding member of Pink Floyd, long outspoken in his political views, has argued against the supply of weapons to Kyiv by Western countries, criticising the practice in an open letter to Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska last September. Now, the Russian government has requested a meeting of the UN Security Council today, ostensibly to discuss “the prospects for the peaceful settlement of the crisis around Ukraine in the context of the increasing supplies of Western armaments”, per the independent thinktank Security Council Report.

They have asked that Waters speak on the meeting, which would be held today (February 8). However, Reuters reports that UN diplomats have responded with incredulity to the request, with one who spoke anonymously saying: “Russian diplomacy used to be serious. What next? Mr. Bean?”

Waters has refused to take the side of Ukraine in the conflict, which began when Russia invaded its neighbour last February. In his letter to Zelenskyy, he responded to her calls for “strong” Western support by saying, “If by ‘support for Ukraine’ you mean the West continuing to supply arms to the Kiev government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken. Throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a fire fight…won’t work”.

In a new interview with German newspaper Berliner Zeitung, published earlier this month, Waters doubled down, reiterating his belief that the United States bears primary responsibility for the invasion, calling it “the main aggressor” and saying that the war was “provoked beyond all measure”. He also used the interview to criticise his former bandmates for their pro-Ukraine single ‘Hey Hey Rise Up’, released last year. 

“It encourages the continuation of the war,” he said of the track, which raised money for humanitarian charities. “To associate [Pink Floyd] now with something like this…proxy war makes me sad.” Those comments have seen the decades-long rift between Waters and fellow Pink Floyd founder David Gilmour deepen, with Gilmour’s wife, the Pink Floyd contributor Polly Samson launching a Twitter broadside at Waters in which she described him as a “Putin apologist” and said he was a “lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac.” Gilmour later quoted the tweet with the caption: “every word [is] demonstrably true”.

In response, Waters issued a brief statement, which said: “Roger Waters is aware of the incendiary and wildly inaccurate comments made about him on Twitter by Polly Samson which he refutes entirely.” He went on to note that he is “currently taking advice on the position.”