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Grammy awards 2022: what did Zelenskyy say in his speech?

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its 40th day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recorded a video message aired at Sunday’s Grammy awards.

Grammy awards 2022: what did Zelenskyy say in his speech?
Matt WinkelmeyerAFP

This weekend, we witnessed the brutal carnage meted out by retreating Russian soldiers on the streets of Bucha. Hundreds of corpses littered the roads, innocent civilians savagely killed. In the town of Bucha, 37 kilometers to the northwest of Kyiv's city centre, there were reports of bodies of civilians, their hands bound and with gun wounds to the back of their heads. Bucha's deputy mayor, Taras Shapravskyi, claimed that the dead were victims of extrajudicial killings carried out by Russian troops. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes by Russia.

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Zelenskyy's plea for support

While the world recoiled in horror at the images from Bucha, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a plea for support in a pre-recorded video message, which was aired during Sunday’s Grammys in Las Vegas. The video message was broadcast in the moments leading up to a performance by American singer John Legend and Ukrainian poet Lyuba Yakimchuck.

Wearing a dark green t-shirt and speaking in a hoarse voice, Zelenskyy said, “The war… what is more opposite to music? The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children draw swooping rockets - not shooting stars. Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we will never see them drawing. Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning - in bomb shelters, but alive… Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence. Our musicians wear body armour instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded - in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.

“We defend our freedom. To live. To love. To sound. On our land, we are fighting Russia - which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The dead silence. Fill the silence with your music! Fill it today. To tell our story. Tell the truth about this war on social networks, on TV. Support us in any way you can. Any, but not silence. And then peace will come.

“To all our cities, the war is destroying - Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Mariupol and others. They are legends already, but I have a dream of them living. And free. Free like you on the Grammy stage".