NewsBlinken Rocks Kyiv Bar Amid Ukraine Crisis, Sparking Debate

Blinken Rocks Kyiv Bar Amid Ukraine Crisis, Sparking Debate

Antony Blinken / Maria Zacharowa
Antony Blinken / Maria Zacharowa
Images source: © East News, Kremlin
10:01 AM EDT, May 15, 2024

On a Tuesday at a Kyiv bar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken performed Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." This unexpected performance caught the attention of Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Blinken, during his appearance at Barman Dictat, explained that his performance was a tribute to the Ukrainian people, who are " fighting not just for a free Ukraine but for the free world."

- Your soldiers, your citizens - particularly in the northeast, in Kharkiv - are suffering tremendously. But they need to know, you need to know, the United States is with you, so much of the world is with you, and they're fighting not just for a free Ukraine but for the free world. And the free world is with you, too, - he stated.

The Secretary of State showcased his musical skills on the electric guitar with the band 19.99, known for their covers of songs by Neil Young, the Canadian-American rock icon.

Engaging in music is not new for Blinken in his diplomatic endeavors. He performed during the launch of a musical diplomacy initiative and played in his own band before becoming Secretary of State.

However, some commentators and journalists have criticized Blinken's performance as inappropriate amidst the new Russian offensive on Kharkiv and power outages in parts of Kyiv.

"Blinken sheds the suit to rock out at Kyiv’s Barman Dictat speakeasy bar. But some might not see this as a great look considering the current situation, the number of people dying and fleeing just a short train ride east, as Russia intensifies its offensive against Ukraine." Financial Times correspondent Christopher Miller shared on the X platform.

The New York Times referred to Blinken's act as "strumming," detailing that after a grim day, Blinken entered Barman Dictat, a bustling cocktail bar, where he joined a punk-jazz band.

Zakharova criticizes Blinken's performance: accuses him of mockery

Maria Zakharova suggested Blinken's visit to Kyiv. His bar performance seemed to mock the Ukrainian people, blaming the United States for their current plight.

- It appears as yet another instance of American officials mocking, witnessing their destructive actions, and laughing at the outcome - Zakharova commented during an interview with Sputnik radio.

Blinken faces criticism

The New York Times noted that Blinken's performance quickly sparked online criticism. Some pointed out that this act was inappropriate during the ongoing situations in Gaza and Kharkiv.

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