Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters is not one to avoid controversy, but his recent comments justifying Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea is raising eyebrows on the eve of two shows in the former Soviet Union.
Waters, who plays St. Petersburg tonight and Moscow on Friday (Aug. 31) recently sat down for an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia and defended the 2014 military move by Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine, saying “many agreements and other papers” exist that back Russia’s claims for Sevastopol, a major military port in Crimea. He also said Putin was “provoked” by the popular uprising that led to the ouster of pro-Putin politician and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The statement enraged many in Ukraine and led to one pro-Ukrainian NGO to place Waters on an unofficial blacklist usually reserved for accused war criminals, but also includes French actor Gerard Depardieu and Serbian filmmaker and musician Emir Kusturica.
Waters has not shied from controversy, calling on touring artists to boycott performing in Israel because of alleged human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza.