John McCain Rocks Out In Ukraine

Never one to miss a chance to take a dig at Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the senator came for the protests and stayed for Ukrainian rock legends Okean Elzy.

U.S. Senator John McCain arrived in Kiev Saturday to show his support for anti-government protesters. McCain has a long history of piggybacking on democratic movements in the former USSR to get in jabs at Vladimir Putin.

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McCain met with Ukrainian Orthodox patriarch Filaret, who supports the protests.

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He also had dinner with the political opposition to President Viktor Yanukovych: liberal Arseny Yatsenyuk, nationalist Oleh Tyahnibok, and boxing champion Vitali Klitschko.

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He looked somewhat intimidated by Klitschko’s younger brother Vladimir.

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Then he took a look at the crowd.

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200,000 people sang the national anthem with their phones aloft.

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Many of them were there to see Ukrainian rock legends Okean Elzy.

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The band’s classic lineup played together for the first time in years.

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Lasers spelled “Ukraine, stand up!”

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The band dedicated their set to students brutally beaten by riot police late last month. “This is only the beginning,” they said.

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McCain even got to meet the band’s lead singer, Svyatoslav Vakarchuk.

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McCain couldn’t stop taking pictures.

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“I believe in a free Ukraine,” McCain told local journalist Pavel Sheremet. “This is incredible.”

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Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71
Contact Max Seddon at

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