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U2’s Bono and The Edge performed a surprise 40-minute acoustic set in a metro station in Ukraine’s capital Sunday as a show of support for the troops in their fight against Russia’s military aggression.
“The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom,” Bono told the crowd of about 100 at the Khreshchatyk metro station converted into a bomb shelter. “We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon.”
Bono tweeted earlier Sunday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had invited them to perform in Kyiv “as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
“This evening, 8th of May, shows will ring out in the Ukraine sky, but you’ll be free at last,” Bono told the crowd in between songs. “They can take your lives, but they can never take your pride.”
The duo played some of U2’s classic hits like “With or With You” and “Desire.” At one point, Bono invited a Ukrainian soldier to join them sing the Ben E. King standard “Stand by Me,” with the “Me” changed to “Ukraine.”
“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Kyiv metro,” U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken tweeted. “The people of Ukraine have shown remarkable determination and resilience in the face of this brutal invasion. WE stand #UnitedWithUkraine and support its pursuit of more peaceful, democratic, and beautiful days ahead.”
Bono (R) (Paul David Hewson), activist and frontman of the Irish rock band U2 and guitarist David Howell Evans aka ‘The Edge’ (L) visits the site of a mass grave by the Church of St. Andrew Pervozvannoho All Saints in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, near Kyiv on May 8, 2022. (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Later Sunday, Bono visited the grounds of St. Andrew’s Church in Bucha where mass graves were discovered in March following Russian troops withdrawing from the area, The New York Times reported.
The Ukrainians have put up a fierce resistance since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Russian forces withdrew from the capital towards end May to concentrate in the eastern part of the country.