The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has addressed this year’s Glastonbury Festival via video link. You can see the message below.
Shortly before this year’s Worthy Farm bash got underway in earnest with a lunchtime set by The Libertines on the Other Stage, the war-torn country’s leader appeared on huge video screens to implore those in attendance to “spread truth” as Russia’s invasion of the nation continues, with battles of attrition raging on across much of the Eastern border.
He also asked for ongoing support for refugees who have bee forced from their homes by the war, as he called the festival “the greatest concentration of freedom these days”.
“Greetings, Glastonbury! The festival resumes this year after a two-year break,” he said. “The pandemic has put on hold lives of millions of people around the world, but has not broken. We, in Ukraine, would also like to live the life as we used to and enjoy freedom and this wonderful summer. But we cannot do that because the most terrible has happened – Russia has stolen our peace.”
Continuing to talk, in what represents a rare public address in English, Zelensky said: ”But! We will not let Russia’s war break us, and we want to stop the war before it ruins people’s lives in other countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America – they are all under threat now. That is why I turn to you for support. Glastonbury is the greatest concentration of freedom these days. And I ask you to share this feeling with everyone whose freedom is under attack.”
“Spread the truth about Russia’s war,” he urged the audience. “Help Ukrainians who are forced to flee their homes because of this war. Find our United24 charity platform and put pressure on all the politicians you know to help restore peace in Ukraine. Time is priceless, and every day is measured in human lives. The more people join us in defending freedom and truth, the sooner Russia’s war against Ukraine will end. Prove that freedom always wins!”
Glastonbury’s long-standing alignment with progressive politics is well-documented; in 2017, then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the crowd on the Pyramid Stage shortly before socially-conscious rap duo Run the Jewels took the stage, with the audience serenading him with chants of “oh, Jeremy Corbyn,” to the tune of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’. Zelensky’s address comes as author JK Rowling has fallen victim to Russian pranksters, who conned her into thinking she was on a Zoom call to the Ukrainian premier.