Jared Leto Visits Kiev, Pays Tribute to Ukraine Revolution's Victims
MOSCOW -- Rock star and Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto made his way to Kiev to pay his respects to those who died in last month's Ukrainian revolution -- and play a gig with his band, 30 Seconds to Mars.
Leto made an emotional acceptance speech at the Academy Awards on March 2 when he received the Oscar for best supporting actor in Dallas Buyers Club.
After mentioning his mother and brother, he said, "All the dreamers out there around the world… in places like Ukraine and Venezuela … as you struggle to make your dreams happens and live the impossible, we are thinking of you."
He repeated those sentiments in Kiev when he played a gig Wednesday before a live audience the night before visiting Kiev's Maiden Square, where as many as 100 people -- most of them anti-government protestors -- died last month in clashes with police and security forces.
On Thursday, Leto mingled with the crowds, stopping at some of the dozens of flower-strewn shrines that have been erected on the spots where protestors died, many of them killed by sniper fire.
Wearing a black T-shirt, jeans, boots and a fur-lined hooded coat with a red and black plaid shirt tied casually around his waste, Leto could have passed for a local but for the two security guards who flanked him.
The previous evening, when he played to an enthusiastic crowd, Leto said, "You guys are in the midst of something really beautiful and it may be difficult, but there's no price too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."
He added, "And I want to let you know, I understand other bands have canceled their shows, but there was no f---ing way, no f---ing way, 30 Seconds to Mars wasn't going to be here in this beautiful city, in this great country here tonight."
Footage of his comment, filmed by a member of the audience, was later posted on YouTube.
There has been a spate of cancellations of events by Ukrainian rock bands scheduled to play in Russia and vice versa.
British rock group Depeche Mode was criticized by some Ukrainian fans for canceling a concert it was due to play in Kiev on Feb. 25. The band cited security concerns, although by that time ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had fled and an interim government had taken power.
Since then the situation, though quiet in Kiev, has become volatile in the ethnic-Russian-dominated Crimea. There, Russian troops are on the ground as a ballot measure -- declared illegal by the international community but supported by the Kremlin -- is due Sunday to decide whether the region should secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia.