Roger Waters, the co-founder of iconic progressive rock band Pink Floyd, faced fierce criticism after accepting a Russian invitation to speak at the U.N. Security Council and using his appearance to describe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as illegal but “not unprovoked.”
Speaking via video link, the English musician, described ahead of his speech by Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., Vasily Nebenzya, as “one of the most prominent activists of the contemporary anti-war movement,” told U.N. officials in New York the invasion of Ukraine was not without provocation and criticized the action taken by both sides of the conflict.
“The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation was illegal. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” he said. “Also, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked, so I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms.”
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, glossed over Waters’ reference to the illegality of the invasion. In remarks apparently prepared before Waters spoke, the diplomat complimented him on “a very precise analysis of events.”
Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.N., Sergiy Kyslytsya, strongly criticized Waters’ remarks in his own address to the council. “How sad for his former fans to see him accept that he is just another brick in the wall of Russian disinformation and propaganda,” he told the chamber.
“Keep strumming the guitar, Mr. Waters,” the diplomat added. “It suits you more than lecturing the security council on how to do its job. No flying pigs here, please.”
The English musician didn’t elaborate by identifying the provocateurs he referred to, but he did offer a more in-depth analysis of his view on the conflict in an interview for the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung published on Feb. 4. There, he called the U.S.-led NATO provocation of Russia in the years leading up to its invasion of Ukraine last February “extreme” and “very damaging to the interests of all the ordinary people of Europe.”
In the interview, he called the ongoing conflict a “proxy war with Russia” and claimed it had originated as a result of a “F*ck you” from the U.S. and its NATO allies to Russian President Vladimir Putin who he claimed had historically “extended his hand to the West in an attempt to build an architecture of peace in Europe.”
“What everyone in the West is being told is the ‘unprovoked invasion’ narrative. Huh? Anyone with half a brain can see that the conflict in Ukraine was provoked beyond all measure. It is probably the most provoked invasion ever,” the English musician told the newspaper, claiming the vast majority of the West has been “brainwashed” by Western mainstream media into believing a Russophobic narrative.
“We need to get all our leaders around the table and force them to say: ‘No more war!'” Waters added.