Volodymyr Zelensky appears at Glastonbury by video link

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky 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 you of thousands of festival-goers in southwest England before the start of a set by The Libertines.

Wearing his now-trademark military green t-shirt, he told the festival at Worthy Farm that ‘Russia has stolen our peace’.

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

‘We in Ukraine would also like to live life as we used to and enjoy freedom and this wonderful summer.

‘But we cannot do that because the most terrible (thing) has happened.’

Zelensky made his appeal in English in a recorded video message to you have thousands of festival-goers in southwest England before the start of a set by The Libertines

Wearing his now-trademark military green t-shirt, he told the festival at Worthy Farm that 'Russia has stolen our peace'

Wearing his now-trademark military green t-shirt, he told the festival at Worthy Farm that ‘Russia has stolen our peace’

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

He said: ‘The pandemic has put on hold the lives of millions of people around the world,’ he said’

He urged the crowds, returning to the festival for the first time since 2019, to 'spread the truth about Russia's war' and help Ukrainian refugees

He urged the crowds, 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 series of appearances around the world via video-link from Ukraine, including an address to the UK parliament, European Parliament and US Congress

Zelensky has made a series of appearances around the world via video-link from Ukraine, including an address to the UK parliament, European Parliament and US Congress

Zelensky made his appeal via video message just before the start of a set by The Libertines

Zelensky made his appeal via video message just before the start of a set by The Libertines

A festivalgoer holds a flare during the Libertines performance on the third day of the Glastonbury Festival

A festivalgoer holds a flare during the Libertines performance on the third day of the Glastonbury Festival

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

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

Music fans huddle right up to the barrier at the front of the crowd during a performance by Rufus Wainwright at Glastonbury

Music fans huddle right up to the barrier at the front of the crowd during a performance by Rufus Wainwright at Glastonbury

A general view of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset, today

A general view of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset, today

Hundreds of tents are seen pitched at the campsite of the festival on Friday

Hundreds of tents are seen pitched at the campsite of the festival on Friday

He urged the crowds, 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 all the politicians you know to help restore peace in Ukraine. Time is priceless and every day is measured in human lives,’ he added.

Zelensky has made a series of appearances around the world via video-link from Ukraine, including an address to the UK parliament, European Parliament and US Congress.

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

The news came shortly after the European Union made a strong show of support for Ukraine, granting the former Soviet republic candidate status, although there is still a long path ahead to membership.

Capturing Severodonetsk has become a key goal of the Russians as they focus their offensive on eastern Ukraine after being repelled from Kyiv and other areas following their February invasion.

Ukrainian servicemen moving to a position in the city of Severodonetsk under heavy bombardment by Russian forces

Ukrainian servicemen moving to a position in the city of Severodonetsk under heavy bombardment by Russian forces

Governor of Lugansk Sergiy Gaiday said that Ukrainian forces around Severodonetsk have been given the order to retreat as remaining in positions that have been relentlessly shelled 'doesn't make sense'

Governor of Lugansk Sergiy Gaiday said that Ukrainian forces around Severodonetsk have been given the order to retreat as remaining in positions that have been relentlessly shelled ‘doesn’t make sense’

Ukrainian troop ride a tank on a road of the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 21, 2022, as Ukraine says Russian shelling has caused "catastrophic destruction" in the eastern industrial city of Lysychansk, which lies just across a river from Severodonetsk where Russian and Ukrainian troops have been locked in battle for weeks

Ukrainian troop ride a tank on a road of the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas on June 21, 2022, as Ukraine says Russian shelling has caused ‘catastrophic destruction’ in the eastern industrial city of Lysychansk, which lies just across a river from Severodonetsk where Russian and Ukrainian troops have been locked in battle for weeks

The strategically important industrial hub has been the scene of weeks of street battles as the outgunned Ukrainians put up a fierce defence.

But Sergiy Gaiday – governor of Lugansk, which includes the city – said the Ukrainian military would have to retreat.

‘They have received an order’ to withdraw, he said on Telegram.

‘Remaining in positions that have been relentlessly shelled for months just doesn’t make sense.’

The city has been ‘nearly turned to rubble’ by continuous bombardment, he added.

‘All critical infrastructure has been destroyed. Ninety percent of the city is damaged, 80 percent (of) houses will have to be demolished,’ he said.

The Ukrainians had already been pushed back from much of the city, leaving them in control of only industrial areas.

Capturing Severodonetsk and its twin city of Lysychansk would give the Russians control of Lugansk, and allow them to push further into the wider Donbas.

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

AFP journalists driving out of the city Thursday twice had to jump out of cars and lie on the ground as Russian forces shelled its main supply road.

They saw dark smoke rising over the road ahead, and heard artillery fire and saw flashes of light, while the road was strewn with trees felled by shelling.

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

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