Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise appearance at the Grammys on Sunday via a pre-recorded video message to the audience.
Zelenskyy’s surprise address took place prior to John Legend’s performance of his song, “Free,” during which he showed images from the conflict and featured a Ukrainian poet.
“What’s more opposite to music?” Zelenskyy asked. “The silence of ruined cities and killed people.”
“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,” the Ukrainian leader 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.”
“On our land, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs,” Zelenskyy said. “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. Any — but not silence. And then peace will come.”
Celebrities including Sean Penn and Amy Schumer had pressured The Academy to get Zelenskyy to speak at the Oscars last week, but it did not pan out.
The Ukrainian government has been using frequent media appearances for US audiences to urge support for more American involvement in the conflict.
During an interview with Fox News over the weekend, Bret Baier asked Zelenskyy about the Azov Battalion and videos circulating that appear to show the group shooting Russian prisoners of war.
Bret Baier asked Zelensky about Azov Battalion’s shooting of Russian POWs.
Zelensky’s answer? “They are what they are.”
Zelensky also claims that some were prosecuted after 2014 and given prison sentences. He doesn’t mention that those convictions were overturned. pic.twitter.com/5m3EOlJhU6
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) April 2, 2022
“They are what they are,” Zelenskyy replied. “They were defending our country.”
Fox News later edited out Zelenskyy’s response from the rebroadcast of the interview and on their website.
Just 35 percent of Americans support US military action supporting Ukraine if it risks nuclear conflict with Russia, according to a poll released last month.