“Today in Irpin we received guests from Ireland. Paul Hudson, Bono, and The Edge – soloist and guitarist for the legendary U2 band, came by with words of support and an offer of help. Discussed the possibility of holding charity concerts of the band to raise funds for the reconstruction of Irpin infrastructure, including our House of Culture. It is incredibly nice to feel the support of the whole world and such people. Thank you.” – Mayor Alexandr Markushin, May 8, 2022

Irish rock band U2’s singer Bono and guitarist The Edge performed a 40-minute concert in a metro station in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to support Ukrainian forces fighting Putin’s invading army.

After the concert, Bono and The Edge visited the cities of Irpin and Bucha, which suffered heavily from the Russian brutality.

Irpin was were Ukrainian forces stopped the Russian advance on Kyiv. After their forced retreat in early April, Russian war crimes were uncovered in Bucha where hundreds of bodies of civilian executions were found.

The musicians talked with local residents and the rector of the Church of the Holy Apostle Andrew, Father Andrii. The U2 band mambers were told about the atrocities committed by the invaders, and how the local communities have been struggling in the aftermath of the Russian barbarity.

Following the visit by Bono and The Edge to Irpin, the head of the Kyiv region, Oleksandr Pavliuk, wrote that the more celebrities who saw the massacres committed by Putin’s military, the sooner the world would know the truth about the dictator.

“Today Ukraine protects the entire civilized world. The future of all democracy is at stake. We will fight to the last, but every day we lose the best sons and daughters. And the more famous people who see the war crimes of the Russian army, the more people in the world will learn the truth and the sooner we win. Such support and assistance is very important to us,” Pavliuk wrote.

Bucha, a city of just over 35,000 inhabitants next to Kyiv, was taken by Russian forces on March 31. When liberated on April 2, streets were littered with the bodies of families. At least 280 corpses were found, some with severed hands. In Irpin the shelling destroyed about 70 percent of the residential areas.

At the concert in the Khreshchatyk metro station, prior to the local visits, Bono and The Edge sang the Ben E King classic Stand By Me. The set also included performances of U2 classics like With or Without You, Desire, Angel of Harlem, and Vertigo.

Ukraine musicians and soldiers joined the duo on stage at times during the show.

“I am grateful to Bono and U2 or supporting our people and drawing even more attention to the need to help our people,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, in his nightly video address.

Bono tweeted that President Zelenskyy had invited the musicians to perform in Kyiv as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and “that’s what we’ve come to do.”

“Your president leads the world in the cause of freedom right now. The people of Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you’re fighting for all of us who love freedom,” Bono told the crowd. “We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon.”

Putin calls his unprovoked war against Ukraine a “special military operation,” and missile attacks continue across the independent democracy. However, some life has returned to Kyiv and it suburban areas, even though air raid sirens regularly sound.

Bono rallied the audience, who gathered in the subway which had been a makeshift bomb shelter used by residents for weeks, between songs during the performance.

“This evening, 8th of May, shots will ring out in the Ukraine sky, but you’ll be free at last. They can take your lives, but they can never take your pride,” he said, quoting the U2 song Pride (In the Name of Love).

Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine has killed thousands of families and forced more than 12 million people to flee their homes, including almost five million abroad.

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Gеnyа Sаvіlov, Sеrgеі Supіnsky, and Анжела Макеева