Volodymyr Zelensky appears in Glastonbury via video link

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Zelensky made his appeal in English in a recorded video message to tens of thousands of festival-goers across south-west England before the start of a set of The Libertines

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has appeared at Glastonbury to urge festival-goers to “spread the truth” about the country’s conflict with Russia.

Zelensky made his appeal in English in a recorded video message to tens of thousands of festival-goers across south-west England before the start of a set of The Libertines.

Wearing his now signature military green T-shirt, he told the festival at Worthy Farm that “Russia stole our peace”.

“The pandemic has put the lives of millions of people around the world on hold,” he said.

“We in Ukraine also want to live life as it used to be and enjoy the freedom and this wonderful summer.

“But we can’t because the most terrible thing happened.”

Zelensky made his appeal in English in a recorded video message to tens of thousands of festival-goers across south-west England before the start of a set of The Libertines

Zelensky made his appeal in English in a recorded video message to tens of thousands of festival-goers across south-west England before the start of a set of The Libertines

Wearing his now signature military green T-shirt, he told the festival at Worthy Farm that

Wearing his now signature military green T-shirt, he told the festival at Worthy Farm that “Russia stole our peace”.

He said:

He said: “The pandemic has put the lives of millions of people around the world on hold,” he said.

He urged the crowd, returning to the festival for the first time since 2019, to

He urged the crowd, returning to the festival for the first time since 2019, to “spread the truth about Russia’s war” and help Ukrainian refugees

Zelensky has made a number of appearances around the world via video link from Ukraine, including addressing the UK Parliament, the European Parliament and the US Congress

Zelensky has made a number of appearances around the world via video link from Ukraine, including addressing the UK Parliament, the European Parliament and the US Congress

Zelensky appealed via video message just before the start of a set of The Libertines

Zelensky appealed via video message just before the start of a set of The Libertines

A festival goer holds a torch during the performance of The Libertines on day three of the Glastonbury Festival

A festival goer holds a torch during the performance of The Libertines on day three of the Glastonbury Festival

Festival goers in the crowd as Rufus Wainwright performs on the Pyramid Stage during Glastonbury

Festival goers in the crowd as Rufus Wainwright performs on the Pyramid Stage during Glastonbury

Music fans squeeze right to the barrier in front of the crowd during a Rufus Wainwright performance in Glastonbury

Music fans squeeze right to the barrier in front of the crowd during a Rufus Wainwright performance in Glastonbury

A general view of today's Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Somerset

A general view of today’s Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Somerset

Hundreds of tents will be pitched at the festival campsite on Friday

Hundreds of tents will be pitched at the festival campsite on Friday

He urged the crowd, returning to the festival for the first time since 2019, to “spread the truth about Russia’s war” and help Ukrainian refugees.

“Put pressure on every politician you know to help restore peace in Ukraine. Time is priceless and every day is measured in lives,” he added.

Zelensky has made a number of appearances around the world via video link from Ukraine, including addressing the UK Parliament, the European Parliament and the US Congress.

His speech comes on the same day a Ukrainian official announced that the country’s armed forces will pull out of Severodonetsk in the face of a brutal Russian offensive.

The news came shortly after the European Union clearly showed its support for Ukraine and granted the former Soviet republic candidate status, although there is still a long way to go before membership.

The capture of Severodonetsk has become a key Russian objective as they focus their offensive on eastern Ukraine after being repulsed by Kyiv and other areas following their invasion in February.

Ukrainian soldiers moving into a position in the city of Severodonetsk under heavy fire from Russian forces

Ukrainian soldiers moving into a position in the city of Severodonetsk under heavy fire from Russian forces

Lugansk Governor Sergiy Gaiday said that Ukrainian forces around Severodonetsk received the order to withdraw as staying in positions that were being relentlessly shelled

Lugansk Governor Sergiy Gaiday said that Ukrainian forces around Severodonetsk received the order to withdraw as staying in positions that were being relentlessly shelled “makes no sense”.

Ukrainian troops drive a tank on a road in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region on June 21, 2022, as Ukraine says Russian shelling caused it "catastrophic destruction" in the eastern industrial city of Lysychansk, which is directly across from Severodonetsk, where Russian and Ukrainian troops have been locked in combat for weeks

Ukrainian troops drive a tank on a road in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region June 21, 2022, as Ukraine says Russian shelling has caused “catastrophic destruction” in the eastern industrial city of Lysyhansk, which lies just across a river from Severodonetsk , where Russian lies and Ukrainian troops have been fighting for weeks

The strategically important industrial center was the scene of weeks of street battles in which the defeated Ukrainians put up a fierce defense.

But Sergiy Gaiday – governor of Lugansk, which includes the city – said Ukraine’s military must withdraw.

“You have received an order” to withdraw, he said on Telegram.

“Staying in positions that have been under constant fire for months just doesn’t make sense.”

The city was “almost reduced to rubble and ashes” by the constant bombardment, he added.

“The entire critical infrastructure was destroyed. Ninety percent of the city is damaged, 80 percent (of) the houses have to be demolished,” he said.

The Ukrainians had already been pushed out of much of the city and were only in control of industrial areas.

The capture of Severodonetsk and its twin city Lysychansk would give the Russians control of Lugansk and allow them to advance further into wider Donbass.

Gaiday said the Russians were now advancing on Lysychansk, which was facing increasingly heavy Russian bombardment.

AFP journalists, who drove out of town twice on Thursday, had to jump out of cars and lie on the ground as Russian forces shelled their main supply road.

They saw dark smoke rising above the road ahead and heard artillery fire and saw flashes of light while the road was littered with trees being felled by shells.

The situation for those who remain in the city is grim.

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