U2’s Bono and President Zelensky’s UNITED24 fundraising platform have combined for a new project to acquire ambulances for Ukraine.

The project had its start when Bono, showing another side of his creativity produced a portrait of Zelensky with the words “The choice is between freedom and fear” written above his head.

The illustration was picked up by The Atlantic magazine, one of the world’s most influential, long-form publications and used on the cover of its June publication.

The edition featured an article co-authored by the renowned commentator and historian Anne Applebaum, which highlighted whether or not “the future of the democratic world will be determined by whether the Ukrainian military can break a stalemate with Russia”.


Now, Bono’s image of Zelensky is being used for a limited-edition merchandise collectionlisted on the band's website, that includes silkscreen-printed posters, T-shirts and hoodies with Zelensky's face in blue on a yellow background, representing the colors of Ukraine.

The limited-edition collection announced yesterday includes a $90 ‘Freedom and Fear’ hoody, $45 T-shirts and a $50 lithograph of Zelensky created by the U2 front-man and ‘Beautiful Day’ singer.

Photo: U2.com website

Funds raised from the sale of the merchandise will be used for the purchase of ambulances and first-aid vehicles by UNITED24.

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As a result of previous donations, UNITED24 has already provided 191 ambulances and first-aid vehicles, as well as a wide array of other medical and humanitarian equipment.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, U2's Bono and The Edge performed a surprise acoustic concert in Kyiv at Zelensky's invitation.

The artists, who have together won 22 Grammy Awards as members of U2, performed for 40 minutes in a makeshift bomb shelter in the Khreshchatyk train station in downtown Kyiv to a crowd of about 100 people, as air raid sirens could be heard in the background.


They also visited Borodyanka, a town of 13,000 people north of Kyiv which was extensively bombed and then occupied by Russia from late February to April 2022. In one bombing incident, 41 people died under the rubble of an apartment building hit by a Russian missile.

"Collaboration between UNITED24 and U2 began on Kyiv Day, when Bono read lines from the Ukrainian capital's anthem," UNITED24 coordinator Yaroslava Gres told Far Out Magazine.

"We are very happy about this new joint project, as it will help raise funds to support heroic Ukrainian medical workers."

Bono, speaking of his artwork, told Far Out that the practice of drawing "is an excuse to stare at someone whose face or life I might be fascinated with."

"In the case of President Volodymyr Zelensky, we have burdened him with impossible expectations - and impossibly, he has not let us down."

According to The Art Newspaper, “the Irish musician Bono is not just a rock god -he’s also a dab hand with a pencil and paintbrush.”

Bono went back and forth with The Atlantic’s art director Oliver Munday on 15 to 20 different iterations of the image, which started as a simple line drawing of Zelensky, The Art Newspaper reported.

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