Roger Waters has written an open letter to the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, seeking her support in persuading her husband to “stop the slaughter” by pursuing a ceasefire at the expense of control over two eastern Ukrainian regions.
The 79-year-old English musician started off his letter by writing: “My heart bleeds for you and all the Ukrainian and Russian families, devastated by the terrible war in Ukraine.”
Referring to Zelenska’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg interview that aired on BBC News this week, Waters pointed out a statement where she said: “If support for Ukraine is strong, the crisis will be shorter.”
The Pink Floyd co-founder questioned her statement, writing: “Hmmm? I guess that might depend on what you mean by ‘support for Ukraine’?
“If by ‘support for Ukraine’ you mean the west continuing to supply arms to the Kyiv government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken.”
Waters added that “throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a firefight, has never worked to shorten a war in the past, and it won’t work now,” as in this case, “most of the fuel is (a) being thrown into the fire from Washington DC, which is at a relatively safe distance from the conflagration, and (b) because the ‘fuel throwers’ have already declared an interest in the war going on for as long as possible.”
The Is This The Life We Really Want? singer suggested that “in order to achieve a different outcome,” instead of being dependent on the west for support, “we may have to seek a different route” and that route may lie in president Volodymyr Zelensky’s “previously stated good intentions”.
In the rest of the letter, Waters referred to the promises that the Ukrainian president made during his 2019 election campaign.
These included the promise “end the civil war in the east and bring peace to the Donbas and partial autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk” as well as “ratify the Minsk-II agreement” which sought to secure a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country.
“One can only assume that your husband’s electoral policies didn’t sit well with certain political factions in Kyiv and that those factions persuaded your husband to diametrically change course ignoring the peoples mandate (sic),” Waters wrote.
“Sadly, your old man agreed to those 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.
“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 neighbors the Russian Federation and in consequence they, the extreme nationalists, have set your country on the path to this disastrous war.”
Waters ended his letter by asking Zelenska to help him “persuade our leaders to stop the slaughter”.
“Might it not be better to demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war?” he asked.
Russia is now six months into its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24 February when Vladimir Putin announced what he called a “special military operation” in a televised address to his citizens.