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Watch: Sec. of State Blinken Plays Guitar in Kyiv Nightclub

by Jamie White
May 14th 2024, 5:48 pm
PR stunt just a modern reimagining of the phrase “Fiddling while Rome burns.”
Image Credit:
screenshot/C-SPAN
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken performed guitar with a Ukrainian rock band at a Kyiv nightclub on Tuesday.

Joe Biden’s top diplomat joined the group 19.99 on stage at Kyiv’s Barman Dictat nightclub to play rhythm guitar and sing Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” originally released in 1989 just before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Blinken’s rock n’ roll debut comes amid reports Russia has blown past Ukraine’s defenses on the Eastern front despite Congress and the Biden administration sending an $80 billion financial assistance package last month.

Blinken visited Ukraine to tout America’s unwavering support and assure that the financial package is on its way to the country amid Russia’s renewed offensive.

His stunt appears to have undermined the optics the Biden administration had hoped to convey.

From the Associated Press:

After a day of meetings with senior officials, civil society figures and university students when he exhorted them against being discouraged, Blinken took to the stage at a bar in Ukraine’s capital to play rhythm guitar and sing with a local band on Neil Young’s 1989 hit “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

The performance, and a series of sunny comments from Blinken about Ukraine’s battlefield prospects, was a startling juxtaposition to what analysts have called one of the most dangerous moments for Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. 

And despite the $80 billion in fresh financial aid thanks to U.S. taxpayers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used Blinken’s visit as an opportunity to beg for even more U.S. military equipment.

“…Blinken told Ukrainian leaders during his unannounced visit to Kyiv that despite a lengthy delay in U.S. military aid that left them vulnerable to these renewed Russian military strikes, more weaponry is coming and some has already arrived.

He made the case even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to him personally for more air defense systems to protect civilians under intense Russian fire in the northeast.

Blinken’s performance was widely panned on social media.

Blinken’s antics are just a modern reimagining of the phrase “Fiddling while Rome burns.”


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