KYIV (AFP) - Irish rock star Bono praised Ukraine's fight for "freedom" during a performance in a metro station in downtown Kyiv on Sunday (May 8), where the U2 frontman also issued his own prayer for peace.
From the platform of a Kyiv metro station, the 61-year-old rock icon belted out U2 classics Sunday Bloody Sunday, Desire, and With Or Without You.
"The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom," said Bono during a break.
The singer also referenced the past conflicts in the band's native Ireland and the troubles it had with a more powerful neighbour.
"We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon," said Bono.
The surprise appearance by Bono - a long time humanitarian who frequently lends his voice to a variety of causes including the fight against poverty and Aids - came as air raid sirens echoed in the Ukrainian capital and fighting raged in the country's east.
At one point, Bono invited a Ukrainian soldier to sing along who called on the world's support for the embattled country as they covered "Stand by me".
Bono performed alongside U2's guitarist The Edge to a small crowd of fans including fatigue-clad members of Ukraine's armed forces.
"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," he told a crowd of up to 100 gathered inside the Khreshchatyk metro station, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, pressing towards Kyiv before withdrawing its forces from near the capital at the end of March to concentrate its firepower on eastern Ukraine.
"I am grateful to (Bono, U2) for supporting our people and drawing even more attention to the need to help our people," Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
"It's some good emotions, that's all," said a member of the Ukrainian territorial forces in the audience.
"It's a strange feeling, like being a child going to first grade," said 36-year-old university lecturer Olesia Bezsmertna ahead of the show.