From Rockstar to Lieutenant in Ukraine’s Army: Svyatoslav Vakarchuk Asks for Help in the Fight Against Russian Invasion

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It’s been exactly one month since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and today, one of Ukraine’s most well-known rockstars is joining the war effort.

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, the frontman for Ukrainian rock band Okean Elzy, spoke to Rolling Stone about his perspective on the invasion as a both musician and a Ukrainian citizen. As a musician, Vakarchuk has reached a countless number of people via international tours and several studio albums. As a citizen of Ukraine, Vakarchuk served briefly as a deputy in Ukraine’s parliament and later focused on the political aspect of his music.

Now, Vakarchuk has enlisted in the army to defend Ukraine against Russian troops. He’s also calling for support for Ukraine from other countries. Read an excerpt of his statement below, and read Vakarchuk’s full interview with Rolling Stone HERE.


“There are three messages which I’m ready to share with the international audience. First is a military message: We need your help to stop Russians. We need anti-missile defense systems. We need planes. We need no-fly zone over Ukraine, but at least the first two things if you’re not ready to do the third. There is a general opinion in the West that if you help us too much, that will provoke Putin to start World War III. The truth is that World War III has already been started by Putin, and now Ukraine is just an avant-garde of this war.

“The second message is an economic message: To sanction Russia as hard as possible, not because we want their people to suffer, but we want their people to stop Putin. And that’s why we say to big companies like Citigroup and other big American and international companies, just stop doing business with Russia. You just help them to earn money. You pay them taxes, and then they buy tanks and planes, which kill our children.

“The third thing, and probably most relevant to our talk, is spiritual support. We are so happy that the whole world, including well-known people in the United States and other countries, support us. We encourage you to create songs, to make art, to create fundraisers, just to spread the word about Ukraine.”

Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

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