Roger Waters asks Vladimir Putin to ‘stop playing nuclear chicken’ in open letter

Roger Waters has written an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking him to end the Ukraine war.

“Would you (Putin) like to see an end to this war?” the 79-year-old musician wrote in a letter on Sunday (25 August). “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.”

The Pink Floyd co-founder, who recently announced his farewell tour, urged the Russian president to issue a message of assurance to the western areas of Ukraine and 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”.

“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?” Waters questioned. “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 US 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.”

This letter comes after Waters wrote an open letter to to the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, seeking her support in persuading her husband to “stop the slaughter” by pursuing a ceasefire at the expense of control over two eastern Ukrainian regions.

Referring to Zelenska’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg interview that aired on BBC News earlier this month, Waters pointed out a statement where she said: “If support for Ukraine is strong, the crisis will be shorter.”

 (Roger Waters/Facebook)
(Roger Waters/Facebook)

The Pink Floyd bassist questioned her meaning, writing: “Hmmm? I guess that might depend on what you mean by ‘support for Ukraine’?

“If by ‘support for Ukraine’ you mean the west continuing to supply arms to the Kyiv government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken.”

In the rest of the letter, Waters referred to the promises that the Ukrainian president made during his 2019 election campaign.

He ended his letter by asking Zelenska to help him “persuade our leaders to stop the slaughter”.

“Might it not be better to demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war?” he asked.

Russia is now six months into its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24 February when Putin announced what he called a “special military operation” in a televised address to his citizens.