BBC Proms 2022: Ukrainian refugee orchestra among the line-up


An orchestra of Ukrainian refugees will take centre stage at this year’s Proms, alongside concerts by Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Cynthia Erivo.

The newly-formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra features players who recently fled the war, alongside Ukrainian musicians from European orchestras.

Ukraine is granting an exemption to the military-age male musicians, allowing them to leave the country and play.

Conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson said they would “honour those who have died”.

The orchestra will perform at the Proms on 31 July, two weeks after the Proms season launches.

Kyiv children’s choir’s world tour was canceled amid war – Conductor Saul Zaks is now on a mission to make sure the world hears the choir’s “magical” sounds


Shchedryk Children’s Choir from Kyiv, one of Ukraine’s most-recognized youth musical ensembles, was poised to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year with new recordings and a world tour.

Then, on Feb. 24, Russia invaded Ukraine.

The choir had to halt all rehearsals and celebratory plans as children and their families scattered across Ukraine. Some fled the country, while others sheltered in their homes.

But the choir has still managed to find ways to share their music with the world, thanks, in part, to the efforts of Danish Argentinian Israeli conductor Saul Zaks.

Zaks immediately got to work on the new mission, contacting international choirs and children’s organizations to spread the word and find ways to share the music.

In collaboration with Choir of the Earth, Zaks has put out a request to global children’s choirs to perform a traditional folk song from the Shchedryk Children’s Choir repertoire called “Rocking the Sun to Sleep.”

7-Year-Old Who Sang In Bunker, Now Sings Ukrainian Anthem In Polish Concert


Her voice soaring out above a large audience, many of them waving the lights on their phones in support, seven-year-old Amelia Anisovych sang the Ukrainian national anthem at a charity event for Ukraine in Poland. Anisovych became known around the world through a viral video of her singing ‘Let It Go’, from Disney’s “Frozen”, for other families sharing a bunker with her family in Ukraine.

Russian Journalist Will Auction Nobel Peace Medal For Ukrainian Refugees


The Russian journalist who won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize will auction off his medal to support Ukrainian refugees. Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov said he was compelled to the action by seeing “wounded and sick children” needing “urgent treatment” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Muratov shared the 2021 Nobel with Filipino American journalist Maria Ressa for their “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” Proceeds will go to The Foundation of Assistance to the Ukrainian Refugees, which supports refugees from Ukraine. Muratov stressed the need for a ceasefire, exchange of prisoners and provision of humanitarian corridors. More than 3.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine during the invasion.

Violinists Around The World Play Alongside Ukrainian In A Bomb Shelter


Illia Bondarenko, 20, recorded himself playing a Ukrainian folk song on his violin and posted it on Instagram, asking for others to join in support of his people. “The meaning is that now everybody, every person in Ukraine and in the whole world is a soldier in their own battlefield. Not only for musicians but for all people. Music is the best language to say emotions because in that horrible situation, sometimes words, it’s not enough. I think now every human in the world should say something about the situation and support Ukraine,” Bondarenko said in his video. The response was stunning: nearly 100 violinists from around the world created their own videos. In a compilation video, they play alongside him, pledging their support to the Ukrainian cause. One of the violinists who made his own recording said, “The violin has always had that ability to sing from the heart in a way. Any little bit we can do to help, we’re willing to do.”

Russia and Ukraine ‘draw up 15-point peace plan’


Russia and Ukraine have reportedly drawn up a 15-point peace deal that would bring a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops – in return for commitments from Kyiv to become a “neutral” country and accept limits on the size of its army.

The deal would allow Ukraine to keep a standing army, but prevent it from ever joining Nato or hosting foreign military bases, sources familiar with the negotiations told the Financial Times.

A similar 1955 pledge convinced the Soviet Union to end the decade-long occupation of Austria after the Second World War.

Austria declared itself permanently neutral that year, leading to the Soviet Union agreeing to an end to its occupation. It promised not to join any military alliance, such as Nato, and to never host foreign military bases on its soil.

The compromise has the potential to meet one of Vladimir Putin’s key demands: that Ukraine never joins Nato. However, other Russian demands will prove hugely problematic for Kyiv.

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators were considering a plan involving a constitutional commitment to neutrality, the Kremlin said on a third day of heavy shelling of Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian invasion will be able to bring their pets into the UK


Ukrainian refugees will be able to bring their pets into the UK, ITV News has been told.

With the government “covering the costs of quarantine,” a statement said: “We recognise that many Ukrainian individuals will not have been able to complete the full health preparations required for their pets”.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) told ITV News those arriving with pets will need to first contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency, who will confirm approval and organise necessary a quarantine stay if animals are required to complete a rabies treatment process.

Many have brought cats, dogs, and other pets with them in their arms as they flee to safety.

Parts of possible peace deal with Russia close to being agreed, Lavrov claims


Parts of a possible peace deal between Russia and Ukraine are close to being agreed, the Russian foreign minister has said, as negotiations to end the conflict continue.

Sergei Lavrov said some formulations for an agreement are near completion, with neutral status for Kyiv under “serious” consideration.

“Neutral status is now being seriously discussed along, of course, with security guarantees,” Mr Lavrov told RBC news.

“Now this very thing is being discussed in negotiations – there are absolutely specific formulations which in my view are close to agreement,” he added.

A Ukrainian pianist played Chopin in the ruins of her house after it was badly damaged by Russian shelling