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Ukrainian president speaks at Grammy Awards

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an emotional plea, and introduced a performance by John Legend, at the 64th annual Grammy Awards.

WASHINGTON — Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video message at the Grammy Awards to ask for support in telling the story of Ukraine's invasion by Russia.

During the message that aired on the show Sunday, he likened the invasion to a deadly silence threatening to extinguish the dreams and lives of the Ukrainian people, including children.

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“Our musicians wear body armor instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them,” he said. “But the music will break through anyway.”

The Recording Academy, with its partner Global Citizen, prior to the ceremony highlighted a social media campaign called “Stand Up For Ukraine” to raise money and support during the humanitarian crisis.

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speaks on screen at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, April 3, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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“Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV, support us in any way you can any, but not silence. And then peace will come to all our cities,” Zelenskyy said.

Following Zelenskyy’s message, John Legend performed his song “Free” with Ukrainian musicians Siuzanna Iglidan and Mika Newton, and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk, as images from the war were shown on screens behind them.

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The war in Ukraine had taken a particularly gruesome turn Sunday when Ukrainian forces entering the town of Bucha, recently held by Russian soldiers, found bodies of people who had been shot, some after being bound and tortured. Ukrainian authorities accused the Russians of war crimes, and European leaders called for tougher sanctions against Moscow. Russia said the atrocities had been committed by Ukrainians.

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