The Kyiv-Classic Symphony Orchestra gathered before a small crowd in central Kyiv on Wednesday to perform an open-air concert as Russian forces meanwhile inch closer to the capital city, Reuters reports.
The orchestra — which typically comprises 65-70 musicians, rather than Wednesday's 20, approximately — proudly played the Ukrainian national anthem as well as an excerpt from Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," the latter an homage to the country's European ambitions, writes Reuters. The European Union's anthem is based on "Ode to Joy."
A crowd watched on Maidan square, applauding and cheering while the orchestra played, per Reuters.
Conductor Dr. Herman Makarenko told reporters that the concert was a call for peace and show of support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has earned praise both nationally and globally for his handling of the Russian invasion.
Moscow's forces are currently "advancing on Kyiv from several directions," though "heavy fighting on the outskirts has slowed their progress," Reuters writes.