By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters on Wednesday addressed the U.N. Security Council at Russia’s invitation, condemning Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor as illegal – though adding he believed it was provoked – and calling for a ceasefire.
“He is lucky to be in New York, in a free country, speak his mind, say whatever he likes, including about the Russian aggression and how wrong that is. If he had been in Russia, with what he said, he might have been in custody by now,” Albania’s U.N. Ambassador Ferit Hoxha told the 15-member Security Council.
Soon after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russia introduced tough new laws on spreading “misinformation” about the war or discrediting the Russian army. Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy rejected Hoxha’s remarks on Wednesday, saying his country respects freedom of speech.
Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” designed to demilitarize and “denazify” the country. Ukraine and its Western allies say the invasion was an unprovoked act of aggression aimed at seizing territory.
Russia called the Security Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and asked Waters to brief. Waters argued against the Western supply of weapons to Kyiv in a letter that he published on his website in September.
The deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Mills, acknowledged Waters’ “impressive credentials as a recording artist,” but said his qualifications to speak on arms control or European security issues were “less evident.”
While Waters condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as illegal, he also said it “was not unprovoked” and he also condemned “the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms.” He did not give specifics.
“The only sensible course of action today is to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine,” Waters said
Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya invoked Pink Floyd’s hit song “Another Brick in the Wall,” telling the Security Council: “How sad for his former fans to see him accepting the role of just a brick in the wall – the wall of Russian disinformation and propaganda.”
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)