Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters, 79, has written a controversial open letter to President Zelensky’s wife Olena suggesting that two key regions should be handed over to Russian forces in pursuit of a “ceasefire”. He insisted that she was “tragically mistaken” in her belief that receiving arms from the West could shorten the war, and blamed “extreme nationalism” for the current crisis in Ukraine.
Since his divisive comments, Roger has reported that his shows in Krakow have been withdrawn against his will, although the venue insists that his management cancelled them.
On Facebook, he contradicted the claim by venue official Lukasz Pytko, that he had chosen to cancel them “without giving any reason”, firing back: “We haven’t.”
He claimed that a Polish town councillor had attempted to boycott a show due to disagreements over his alleged “service to human rights”.
“[The councillor] has threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me ‘Persona non grata’ because of my public efforts to encourage all involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the USA and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace,” he wrote.
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He added that the person responsible had “urged the good people of Krakow not to buy tickets to my show”.
Roger continued: ““[If] my forthcoming concerts in Krakow are cancelled, it will be a sad loss for me, because I have been looking forward to sharing my message of love with the people of Poland, something I have been doing on many tours over a career that has lasted in excess of fifty years.
“And also, regrettably, it will deny the people of Krakow the opportunity to see my current show, This Is Not A Drill, which is an important addition to a lifetime’s body of work.
“[The] draconian censoring of my work will deny them the opportunity to make up their own minds.”
He also appeared to blame Ukrainian “nationalists” for the conflict – an allegation which quickly caused a backlash.
“Sadly, your old man [Zelensky] agreed to 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,” he wrote.
“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.
“In consequence they, the extreme nationalists, have set your country on the path to this disastrous war.”
Roger pointed to two election promises made by Zelensky when he came to power, when he’d vowed to “end the civil war in the east and bring peace to the Donbas and partial autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk”.
He had also made his wishes to “ratify the Minsk-II agreement”, which he hoped would lead to a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and separatists who were backed by Russia.
The singer songwriter ended the letter by writing: “My heart bleeds for you and all the Ukrainian and Russian families, devastated by the terrible war in Ukraine.”
However, some have reacted furiously to his claim that the Ukrainians should give up two contested regions and stop fighting for what they believe in.