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.

Via Twitter: @senjohnmccain

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

Via Twitter: @SenJohnMcCain

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

Via Twitter: @SenJohnMcCain

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

Via Twitter: @senjohnmccain

Then he took a look at the crowd.

Via Twitter: @pavelsheremet

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

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

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

Lasers spelled “Ukraine, stand up!”

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

Via Twitter: @maximeristavi

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

Via Twitter: @geoffpyatt

McCain couldn’t stop taking pictures.

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

Via Twitter: @pavelsheremet

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Max Seddon is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Kiev. Seddon reports on Ukraine and Russia. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71
Contact Max Seddon at
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