Ukrainian operatic baritone sings his national hymn at 10 Downing Street in ‘call for peace’

24 February 2022, 17:36 | Updated: 25 February 2022, 16:33

Yuriy Yurchuk sings Ukrainian national hymn outside 10 Downing Street

By Kyle Macdonald

Kyiv-born singer Yuriy Yurchuk gives an emotional performance of his country’s national anthem, in a plea for peace and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

One of the world’s leading baritones has powerfully given voice to those of his home country, following a day of attacks by Russian forces.

On the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation in Ukraine, protesters gathered at London’s Whitehall, outside Downing Street and the Prime Minister’s office and residence. With their national flags and colours, the crowd was calling for the UK’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and a strong response from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK government, and allies.

Read more: Ukrainians use powerful music to voice their protests as Russia declares war

Ukrainian singer Yuriy Yurchuk, born in Kyiv, joined the protesters on Thursday afternoon. “This is an extremely important day not just for Ukraine, but for the entire world we live in today,” he posted on Instagram.

And, standing outside the entrance to Downing Street, Yurchuk gave voice to a melody that would have been deeply felt by so many gathered.

He sang his homeland’s national anthem, Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, translating as ‘Ukraine is not yet lost’ (watch above).

Read more: Poignant footage of Ukrainian people singing in shelters during Russian raids

Ukrainian demonstrators protests outside Downing Street against the invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian demonstrators protests outside Downing Street against the invasion of Ukraine. Picture: Getty

During an afternoon when bombs have been heard around the capital Kyiv, Yurchuk told Classic FM that he “sang for peace. And in support and solidarity for all Ukrainians.”

Yurchuck has sung leading roles at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House during the 2021/22 season, including the role of Marcello in Puccini’s La Boheme.

He has also sung in his home country, including in productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Ukraine National Opera and Verdi’s Don Carlos at Kyiv National Opera.

Music has been filling the streets of major European cities from London and Kyiv to Warsaw, as people join to sing Ukraine’s national anthem in support and solidarity.