Rod Stewart performing live on stage with guitar

Rod Stewart Defends Ukraine Support Amid Leipzig Concert Controversy

Legendary musician Rod Stewart reaffirms solidarity with Ukraine and anti-war stance after mixed reception in Germany.

Sir Rod Stewart, a music icon celebrated for his timeless hits and charismatic performances, found himself at the center of controversy during a recent concert in Leipzig, Germany. The incident unfolded when the Ukrainian flag and an image of President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on a video screen amidst his performance of “Rhythm of My Heart,” a song he has long proclaimed as an anti-war anthem dedicated to Kyiv. The response from the audience was mixed, with both applause and jeers audible, reflecting the polarized sentiments surrounding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

In the aftermath of the concert, Sir Rod Stewart, 79 years old and still captivating audiences globally, spoke out in defense of his support for Ukraine. In an interview with the PA news agency, he reaffirmed his unwavering solidarity with the Ukrainian people, detailing personal efforts that extend beyond symbolic gestures. “I have supported the Ukrainian people throughout this war,” he asserted. “From arranging for members of my family to take supplies to the country, to renting a house in the UK for a Ukrainian family… So yes, I do support Zelensky and the people of Ukraine, and I will continue to do so.”

His vocal stance against Russian President Vladimir Putin has also been evident during his performances, where he has not shied away from expressing strong opinions. “Putin must be stopped,” he declared to PA, underscoring his outspoken advocacy for peace and justice in the face of geopolitical tensions.

The Leipzig concert incident occurred against the backdrop of broader political dynamics in Germany’s central state of Saxony, known for its complex sociopolitical landscape. The region has grappled with issues of nationalism, including the rise of far-right sentiments exemplified by the election of a mayor from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Moreover, instances of neo-Nazi violence and attacks on migrants have tarnished Saxony’s reputation, highlighting simmering social tensions amidst a broader European context shaped by migration and identity politics.

For Sir Rod Stewart, whose music transcends generations and borders, the commitment to humanitarian causes has been a personal calling. In 2022, he and his wife Penny Lancaster exemplified this commitment by renting a home in Berkshire, England, to shelter a Ukrainian family of seven who fled the ravages of Russia’s full-scale invasion. This act of generosity was complemented by his sponsorship of four lorries laden with essential supplies destined for the Poland-Ukraine border. Notably, his nephews played pivotal roles in this humanitarian effort, driving the convoys across multiple European countries to deliver aid and transport Ukrainian refugees to safety in Berlin.

“They drove through France, Belgium, Germany, and into Poland, dropped off supplies and picked up refugees and dropped them in Berlin,” Sir Rod recounted proudly to the Daily Record, emphasizing the collective effort behind these humanitarian endeavors. “It took them three-and-a-half days to get there and back. They are the heroes, not me.”

As Sir Rod Stewart concludes his European tour, marked by poignant moments and impassioned performances, he remains resolute in his convictions. Despite the Leipzig incident and the complexities of public reception, he continues to engage audiences with his music and unabashed advocacy for causes close to his heart. Looking ahead, his journey will soon lead him to the United States, where he will wrap up a remarkable 13-year residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, further cementing his legacy as a rock ‘n’ roll icon with a steadfast commitment to humanitarianism and social justice.

In an era defined by global challenges and ideological divides, Sir Rod Stewart’s actions and words serve as a poignant reminder of the power of celebrity influence beyond entertainment. His unwavering support for Ukraine, underscored by tangible acts of kindness and solidarity, resonates as a beacon of hope amidst tumultuous times, encapsulating the essence of an artist who not only sings about change but actively contributes to it.