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Grammys: Zelensky appeals for musicians’ support ‘but not silence’

Volodymyr Zelensky urged musicians to support Ukraine in "any way you can, but not silence" in a special message played at the 64th Grammys.

Los Angeles, 4 April 2022 (PA Media/dpa/MIA) — Volodymyr Zelensky urged musicians to support Ukraine in “any way you can, but not silence” in a special message played at the 64th Grammys.

The Ukrainian president said music would “break through” the silence caused by the destruction from Russian forces across his country.

It comes as the Kremlin’s assault on Ukraine rages on and the death toll of civilians continues to climb, with the United Nations estimating the casualties to be in the thousands.

Zelensky appeared via video link ahead of a special performance by John Legend, featuring words by Lyuba Yakimchuk, a poet from Donbas in Ukraine.

“The war. What’s more opposite to music. The silence of ruined cities and killed people,” Zelensky said.

“Our children draw swooping rockets, not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we will never see them drawing.

“Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning. In bomb shelters. But alive.

“Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.

He continued: “Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos.

“They sing to the wounded. In hospitals. Even to those who can’t hear them but the music will break through anyway.

“We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound.

“On our land we are fighting Russia which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence.

“Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today. To tell our story. Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can. But not silence.

“And then peace will come. To all our cities the war is destroying… They are legends already. But I have a dream of them living. And free.

“Free like you on the Grammys stage.”

The Recording Academy later tweeted: “Our hearts and our stage hold a special place for the people of Ukraine.”

Zelensky was rumored to be making an appearance at the Oscars last weekend, with Amy Schumer revealing she had pitched the idea to organizers, but he did not.

Meanwhile, in a video message on Sunday evening, Zelensky said he feared that more terrible things could unfold and even more deaths and abuses could emerge from Ukrainian regions still under Russian control.

“Because this is the nature of the Russian military that has entered our country. They are brutes who do not know how to do things any other way,” Zelensky said, adding that he wanted every Russian soldier’s mother to see the corpses of the dead in Bucha and other cities.

“What have they done? Why were they killed? What did a man who was riding his bike down the street do?” he asked.

“Why were normal civilians in a normal peaceful city tortured to death? Why were women strangled after having their earrings ripped from their ears? How could they rape women and kill them in front of their children? Scorn their bodies even after their death? Why did they run over their bodies with tanks? What did the Ukrainian city of Bucha do to your Russia?”

Images from the small city of Bucha near Kyiv, where civilian corpses were found on the streets after Russia’s withdrawal, have prompted international outrage. Ukraine says the Russian troops who until recently occupied the city are responsible for the massacre. Moscow denies this.

Zelensky also said former German chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy should visit Bucha and see an image of their failed Russia policy.

“I invite Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy to visit Bucha and see what a policy of concessions for 14 years has led to,” he said.

In 2008, NATO states considered admitting Ukraine to the alliance but backed out because of Russia.

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