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Krakow cancels Roger Waters gigs and urges him to visit Ukraine

Roger Waters performs at the United Centre in Chicago in July (Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)
Roger Waters performs at the United Centre in Chicago in July (Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

The Polish city of Krakow has cancelled gigs by Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters because of his sympathetic stance toward Russia in its war against Ukraine, a local councilman said.

Lukasz Wantuch said the city owns the arena where two of Waters’ concerts had been scheduled for April.

He said the city will not tolerate them being used for an artist spreading ideas objectionable to most people in Poland.

Waters is free to perform in a private venue, he added.

Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters speaks to crowds gathered in Parliament Square in Westminster, London, protesting Julian Assange’s imprisonment and extradition
Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters speaks to crowds gathered in Parliament Square in Westminster, London, protesting Julian Assange’s imprisonment and extradition (PA)

“He doesn’t realise the truth,” Mr Wantuch told the Associated Press.

“He doesn’t understand what is going on in Ukraine.”

On Saturday, Polish media said the gigs were cancelled by Waters’ management in reaction to the outcry over his views.

Waters denied that on Sunday and Mr Wantuch confirmed that Krakow and the venue made the decision.

Mr Wantuch, who has been on 27 humanitarian missions to Ukraine since the war began, spearheaded a symbolic resolution to declare Waters “persona non grata” in Krakow.

A vote is scheduled to take place.

From left: Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Rick Wright from Pink Floyd
From left: Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett and Rick Wright from Pink Floyd (PA)

In an open Facebook post on Monday, Mr Wantuch invited Waters to join him on a visit to Ukraine to see for himself the extent of devastation caused by Russian attacks.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Waters accused Mr Wantuch of a “draconian censoring of my work”.

He said Mr “Wantuch seems to know nothing of my history of working, all my life, at some personal cost, in the service of human rights”.

Waters has blamed Nato and Ukraine for the war.

He wrote an open letter to Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska this month in which he blamed “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine for having “set your country on the path to this disastrous war”.

He also criticised the West for supplying Ukraine with weapons, blaming Washington in particular.

Mr Wantuch wrote in his open message to Waters that with 2.6 million followers on social media, he had the power to influence many minds.

“You are calling on the West to cease military aid, which in fact means the capitulation of Ukraine,” Mr Wantuch wrote.

“Ukraine will not give up, it will fight, but because of people like you, because of what you say and write, it will be a much harder fight.”