Roger Waters has shared an open letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin, urging him to commit to a ceasefire and diplomatic settlement to end the Russia-Ukraine war.
In a statement shared on social media, Waters pointed out that he was spurred to write Putin after seeing comments on his letters to Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska, asking why he had only addressed one side of the conflict.
The former Pink Floyd bassist has claimed that in the months since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, he has “tried to use [his] small influence to encourage a ceasefire and a diplomatic settlement that addresses the security needs of both Ukraine and The Russian Federation”.
Addressing Putin directly, Waters asked: “Would you like to see an end to this war? If you were to reply and say, ‘Yes please.’ That would immediately make things a lot easier. If you were to come out and say, ‘Also the Russian Federation has no further territorial interest beyond the security of the Russian speaking populations of The Crimea, Donetsk and Lubansk [sic].’ That would help too.”
Waters went on to address the notion that Putin and his forces “want to overrun the whole of Europe, starting with Poland and the rest of the Baltic states”. Should that be the case, he continued, “We might as well all stop playing the desperately dangerous game of nuclear chicken that the hawks on both sides of the Atlantic seem so comfortable with, and have at it. Yup, just blow each other and the world to smithereens.”
The artist encouraged Putin to issue a message of public assurance that Russia has no interest in overrunning Europe, as he “[has] kids and grandkids, and so do most of my brothers and sisters all over the world and none of us would relish that outcome”.
Waters’ final point approached the idea of a negotiation between Russia and Ukraine. He continued: “If I’ve read your previous speeches correctly, you would like to negotiate a state of neutrality for a sovereign neighbouring Ukraine? Is that correct? Assuming such a peace could be negotiated it would have to include an absolutely binding agreement not to invade anyone ever again.
“I know, I know, the USA and NATO invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil, but that doesn’t mean you should, your invasion of Ukraine took me completely by surprise, it was a heinous war of aggression, provoked or not.”
Have a look at Waters’ full letter to Putin below:
Roger WatersLos Angeles, CASunday 25th September 2022Recently I have been reading comments on social media, asking…
Earlier this month, Waters penned an open letter to Olena Zelenska – the wife of current Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy – suggesting she persuade her husband to work toward a ceasefire with Russia and “stop the slaughter”.
It came after Waters spurred controversy in a heated interview outlining his take on the Russia-Ukraine war. In it, he argued with a CNN journalist that “this war is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn’t do when [the final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail] Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe”.
Over the weekend, it was reported that Waters had cancelled the two Polish dates of his 2023 world tour, citing backlash he’d received over those comments. The artist outright denied those reports, instead accusing a councilor in Krakow – the city he was slated to perform in next April – of attempting to censor his art and message. Waters also noted that he still hopes to perform in Poland.
Since then, it’s been confirmed that both shows were indeed cancelled by said councilor, Lukasz Wantuch. In a statement shared with the Associated Press on Monday (September 26), Wantuch – who has embarked on 27 humanitarian missions to Ukraine since Russia invaded the nation – said that Waters “doesn’t understand what is going on in Ukraine”.
Waters has been barred from performing at the city-owned Tauron Arena in Krakow – reportedly because “said the city would not tolerate [the venue] being used for an artist spreading ideas objectionable to most people in Poland”. Wantuch noted, however, that Waters is still welcome to perform in a private venue.
Waters is currently underway with the North American leg of his ‘This Is Not A Drill’ tour, with back-to-back shows in LA scheduled for Tuesday September 27 and Wednesday 28. The tour will continue until mid-October, when Waters and his band play two shows in Mexico City. Find remaining tickets for those dates here.
Following his European run, which officially begins in March 2023, Waters will perform a trio of shows in the UK – Birmingham on Wednesday May 31, Glasgow on Friday June 2, and London on Tuesday June 6. Like all shows on the run, these are billed as being part of Waters’ “first ever farewell tour”, on which he will perform songs from the Pink Floyd albums ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Animals’, ‘The Wall’ and ‘The Final Cut’. Tickets for the tour are available here.