Russian celebrities — including athletes, actors, and Eurovision stars — have also publicly denounced the invasion, putting their careers at great risk due to the government’s heavy influence in the entertainment industry. In an Instagram video, popular singer Valery Meladze pleaded for an end to the invasion.
“History will be the judge of these events,” Meladze said. “But today, I beg you, please stop the war.”
On Wednesday, just before the invasion began, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a televised speech calling for peace and highlighting the close ties between Russia and Ukraine.
“This is our land. This is our history. What are you fighting for and with whom?” Zelensky said. “Many of you have been to Ukraine. Many of you have relatives in Ukraine. Some have studied in Ukrainian universities. Some have made friends with Ukrainians. You know our character. You know our people. You know our principles.”
Zelensky also directly addressed the people of Russia, urging them to stand with Ukraine and let their own government know they don’t want war.
“I know that my address to you won’t be shown on Russian television, but the citizens of Russia should see it. They should know the truth, and the truth is that this needs to stop before it’s too late,” he said. “And if the leadership of Russia doesn’t want to sit down at the table with us for the sake of peace, maybe they will sit down at the table with you. Do Russians want war? I would like to answer that question, but the answer depends only on you.”