Volodymyr Zelenskiy has described Glastonbury as the “greatest concentration of freedom” as he addressed the British music festival calling for the world to “spread the truth” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president spoke via a video message played ahead of The Libertines’ stage-opening set on the big screens at the Other Stage on Friday.
“The festival resumes this year after a two-year break, the pandemic has put on hold lives of the millions of people around the world, but has not broken,” Zelenskiy told the crowd of thousands.
“We in Ukraine would also like to live the life as we used to and enjoy freedom and this wonderful summer, but we cannot do that because the most terrible has happened – Russia has stolen our peace.
“That is why I turn to you for support Glastonbury the greatest concentration of freedom these days and I ask you to share this feeling with everyone whose freedom is under attack.”
Zelenskiy said Ukraine “will not let Russia’s war break us” and that he wants the war to stop before it “ruins people’s lives in other countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America”.
“Spread the truth about Russia’s war, help Ukrainians who are forced to flee their homes because of the war,” he said.
“Time is priceless and every day is measured in human lives. The more people join us in defending freedom and truth, the sooner Russia’s war against Ukraine will end. Prove that freedom always wins!”
He finished his message by saying “Slava Ukraini”, which translates as “glory to Ukraine” in English, which was met with loud and rolling cheers and applause across those gathered at the stage in Worthy Farm, Somerset.
Zelenskiy also called on people to visit his United24 charity platform, which collects donations to aid Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion.
The Ukrainian president’s message comes before Billie Eilish will make history when she takes to the Pyramid Stage on Friday night as Glastonbury Festival’s youngest ever solo headliner.
The Grammy-winning singer, 20, will perform alongside her brother and co-writer, Finneas O’Connell.
On the day Eilish headlines Glastonbury, Sir Paul McCartney will be warming up for his Saturday headline slot by performing at a Somerset music venue.