Volodymyr Zelensky called Glastonbury “the biggest concentration of freedom” when he addressed the festival with a call to the world to “spread the truth” about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The President of Ukraine delivered a video message that was shown before the opening of The Libertines stage on big screens at the Other Stage on Friday.
“The festival is resuming this year after a two-year break, the pandemic paused the lives of millions of people around the world, but did not break,” Zelensky told a crowd of thousands.
“We in Ukraine would also like to live in the old way and enjoy freedom and this wonderful summer, but we cannot do this, because the worst thing has happened – Russia has stolen our peace.
“That is why I am asking you to support Glastonbury, the greatest concentration of freedom in our day, and I ask you to share this feeling with all whose freedom is under threat.”
Mr. Zelensky said Ukraine “will not let Russia’s war break us” and that he wants the war to end before it “destroys the lives of people elsewhere in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America.”
“Spread the truth about the Russian war, help the Ukrainians who are forced to leave their homes because of the war,” he said.
“Time is priceless and every day is measured by 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 ended his message by saying “Glory to Ukraine”, which translates in English as “glory to Ukraine”, which was met with loud applause from those assembled on stage at Worthy Farm, Somerset.
Mr. Zelenskiy also encouraged people to visit his charity platform United24, which collects donations to help Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion.
The message from the Ukrainian president came before Billie Eilish made history when she took to the Pyramid Stage on Friday night as Glastonbury’s youngest solo headliner.
The 20-year-old Grammy-winning singer will perform alongside her brother and co-writer Finneas O’Connell.
The American pop star made her Glastonbury debut in 2019 when she performed at the Other Stage and wowed the crowd with a series of tracks such as Bad Guy and You Should See Me In A Crown.
The weather during the performance promises to be dry, despite the high chance of rain in the afternoon.
The day Eilish heads Glastonbury, Sir Paul McCartney will be warming up for his Saturday headliner at the Somerset venue.
In addition to Eilish, Friday’s Pyramid Stage line-up includes Sam Fender, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Crowded House, Rufus Wainwright and Wolf Alice, whose appearance is hanging in the balance due to travel issues.
Other bands playing Friday include the Sugababes on the Avalon stage and the Foals and St Vincent on another stage, which also features Friday performances by Kae Tempest and The Libertines.
Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra will also mark their first UK performance since their win with a performance at the Shangri-La Truth Stage on Friday’s playbill.