'Terrifying’: Russia kills Ukrainian musician for refusing to take part in concert


The Russian concert was meant to take place on October 1, which is international music day, and was set to feature the Gilerya chamber orchestra, of which Mr Kerpatenko was the principal conductor. The Ukrainian culture ministry confirmed the conductor’s death over the weekend and said he had “categorically refused to cooperate with the occupants”.

The Ukrainian culture ministry said in a statement on Facebook that the concert was “intended by the occupiers to demonstrate the so-called ‘improvement of peaceful life’ in Kherson”.

Earlier in October, President Putin declared the annexation of Kherson, as well as three other regions of Ukraine.

However, Russia does not have full control over the region as Ukrainian forces have launched a counters strike against Russian occupiers and have recently retaken some areas in north-western Kherson.

A formal investigation into Mr Kerpatenko’s death has been launched by the Kherson prosecutor’s office in Ukraine “on the basis of violations of the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder”.

They added that family members of Mr Kerpatenko outside of Kherson have not been able to get in touch with the conductor since September.

Conductors and artists in Ukraine and around the world have condemned the actions of Russia as well as remembered the life of Mr Kerpatenko.

Victoria Amelina, a Ukrainian novelist and journalist, said: “We know the Russian regime is hunting activists, journalists, artists, community leaders, and anyone ready to resist the occupation.

“Yet, even knowing the current pattern and history, we cannot and, more importantly, shouldn’t get used to hearing about more brutal murders of a bright, talented, brave people whose only fault was being Ukrainian.”

Anatoliy Solovianenko, the chief stage director of the National Opera of Ukraine described the murder as “absolutely terrifying”.

He said: “Whether he was a doctor, or a worker, or an artist, it makes no difference. He was a human, and he refused to comply.”

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Dalia Stasevska, a Finnish-Ukrainian conductor, said: “The history of Russia imposing a ‘comply or die’ policy against artists is nothing new. It has a history which spans for hundreds of years.”

She added: “I have seen too much silence from Russian colleagues.

“Would this be the time for Russian musicians, especially those living and working abroad, to finally step up and take a stand against the Russian regime’s actions in Ukraine?”

Writer Andrey Kurkov, said: “Now the name of Yuriy Kerpatenko will be added to the list of murdered artists of Ukraine.

“I increasingly think that Russia is not only seeking to occupy Ukrainian territories but also diligently destroying Ukrainian identity, an important part of which is Ukrainian culture.”


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