Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd co-founder who has been roundly criticized for his views of the war in Ukraine, condemned Russia’s invasion in an address to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday — though he added that he believes the invasion had been provoked.
The address was given at the invitation of Russia, which Mr. Waters said had mounted an “illegal” invasion that he condemned in “the strongest possible terms.”
But in his next breath, he said the invasion “was not unprovoked,” and condemned “the provocateurs just as strongly.”
“All of you, please change course now,” Mr. Waters said, addressing Russia, Ukraine, the United States, NATO and the Europen Union. “Agree to a cease-fire in Ukraine today.”
Mr. Waters has made his political views, and his opposition to what he views as unnecessary wars, a central part of his brand. He has been particularly vocal about the war in Ukraine.
He sparred with Ukraine’s first lady on Twitter last September when he said Ukraine should pursue peace with Russia, and this weekin an interview with The Telegraph tried to walk back remarks from early in the war that called the conflict a criminal mistake and the “act of a gangster” — an apparent reference to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. That, he said, “may have been unfair.”
Richard M. Mills, the deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed Mr. Waters’s address to the Security Council. Despite Mr. Waters’s “impressive credentials as a recording artist,” his qualifications on arms control and European security issues were “less evident to me,” Mr. Mills said with a shrug.
The Ukrainian ambassador to the U.N., Sergiy Kyslytsya, invoked Pink Floyd’s biggest hit to criticize Mr. Waters, calling him “a brick in the wall” of Russian disinformation and propaganda.
When Mr. Waters, 79, verbally sparred with Olena Zelenska, the wife of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, last year, heposted an open letter to her on Facebook in which he lamented the deaths of Ukrainians and Russians in the war and said that the best way to prevent more killing was for the West to stop supplying arms to Ukraine. Ms. Zelenska responded the next day on Twitter, and, the following week, Mr. Waters responded in another Facebook post.
“I smell interference from Washington,” he wrote.
One of Poland’s biggest music venues canceled one of his shows in response.
Matthew Mpoke Bigg contributed reporting.