Celebrities and World Leaders Stand Up for Ukraine with Global Citizen Social Media Rally

The event co-hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen includes performances by Madonna, U2, Billie Eilish, and more

Bono of U2 and Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Photo: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage; Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde/Getty

A star-studded lineup of celebrities and politicians are expressing solidarity with Ukraine.

The outpouring of support comes in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which recently entered its second month.

On Saturday, in collaboration with the international education and advocacy group Global Citizen, A-listers and political figures are taking part in the "Stand Up for Ukraine" social media rally. Users can participate in the event through the hashtag #StandUpForUkraine.

The digital rally kicked off on Friday with testimonials from grassroots advocates on the ground, calls for humanitarian aid and celebrity appearances, all culminating in a global pledging summit with world leaders on Saturday.

The event is co-hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Among the full line-up of performers, stars and more are U2, Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Billy Joel, Céline Dion, Chris Rock, Demi Lovato, Elton John and his husband David Furnish, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, Gloria Steinem, Green Day, Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-lee Furness, the Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, Luke Combs, Madonna, and many more.

Madonna, 63, and her 16-year-old son David Banda graced her 2.7 million Twitter followers with an intimate homemade cover of Elton John's "Your Song" on Friday. They also gave a special shoutout to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"Music does make the people come together, as President Zelenskyy said so eloquently last week on the Grammys," Madonna noted. "And so, my son David Banda and I would like to offer this gift of song to you, one of our favorite songs, in hopes that we can inspire people all around the world to stand up and support the people of Ukraine."

The Goodbye Yellow Brick Road artist also shared a heartfelt video in which he reminisced about his own humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, dipping into the vault for some throwback footage of his performances and visits to the region.

"I've been playing concerts in Eastern Europe since the 1970s. One of my favorites was a huge free AIDS awareness concert in Kyiv," he narrated the video. "It was all those years ago that I pledged to raise awareness and help people living with the disease, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation has been doing so in Ukraine and across the region for over two decades.

"We are heartbroken and appalled to see the suffering of people in Ukraine today, including over a quarter of a million people living with HIV as this conflict unfolds. ... During these devastating times, we stand for an end to the violence and suffering in Ukraine. We must support those seeking help and making their way to safety with life-saving services and humanitarian aide," John added.

Billie Eilish also shared a recent performance of her song "Your Power" with brother Finneas, which they dedicated to the people of Ukraine during a recent stop on her Happier Than Ever world tour.

"Tonight, we are going to perform 'Your Power' as a call to action and in honor of the people of Ukraine," Eilish, 20, said as she introduced the song. "To world leaders, there are millions of people being displaced from Ukraine. We need you to answer the call and take immediate action and support displace people around the world. For those watching, help amplify this message so our leaders know we must take action immediately. We stand with Ukraine."

Céline Dion shared an impassioned plea Thursday in a video to world leaders ahead of Saturday's global pledging summit. "I'm standing up for Ukraine. To all the world leaders, we need you now more than ever before to answer the call from everyone: activists, advocates and volunteers who are working to support refugees from Ukraine and around the world," she began.

"You'll meet to decide how much support you'll be able to give to these people who have been forced to leave their homes, their country, their loved ones. Please stand up for these refugees everywhere and give every bit of financial support that you can," Dion, 54, said.

Lenny Kravitz showed his support with a photo of himself making the peace sign and holding up a cardboard sign that read, "Stand up for Ukraine! Let love rule, not war."

Katy Perry shared a video promoting the social media rally. "We've all seen the horror unfold in Ukraine, so we know how desperately they need help, and this is the time for all of us - but most especially our leaders - to #StandUpForUkraine," she wrote.

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Bruce Springsteen recorded a brief video message as well. "Refugees in Ukraine and around the world need our help now," he said. "Join all of us on E Street and Global Citizen as we stand up for Ukraine, and stand up for those displaced globally because everyone deserves safe and humane living conditions."

Ozzy Osbourne appeared in a video with wife Sharon Osbourne. "We're standing up for Ukraine," Ozzy, 73, started in the clip.

"What we've seen is heart-wrenching, and we're answering the call from those on the ground in Ukraine," Sharon, 69, added. "World leaders are meeting tomorrow to decide how much funding they are giving to support refugees. We need them to stand up for refugees everywhere and contribute the billions needed for this crisis."

"We cannot let the hardships these refugees are facing go unanswered," Ozzy said.

The Backstreet Boys also came together to record a video message in support of the campaign, while pledging a portion of proceeds from the DNA world tour, which kicked off Friday in Las Vegas.

"Today, we are calling on our world leaders to stand up for Ukraine by generously supporting the refugees relief fund at the global pledging summit," said AJ McLean. "We are committing to donate a portion of our proceeds from our European DNA world tour to show our support.'

The Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded a video at Amoeba Music in Los Angeles. "We're here today in support of Ukrainian refugees, and we're all in favor of all the support they can get," said Flea.

"We would like to help raise money and ask the world leaders and the not world leaders to contribute whatever you can to help the refugees, because the refugees always need help. And we wouldn't ask you to do anything we wouldn't do ourselves. So Chad, I'm gonna ask you to help. I'd like you to help," said Anthony Kiedis, as Chad Smith replied: "That's right. I'm helping. I'm gonna help."

"And yeah, we should just all be aware of refugees and contribute lots of love, cash, whatever you got," Kiedis, 59, concluded.

Måneskin teased their new song "We're Gonna Dance on Gasoline" in support of Ukraine. "Refugees in Ukraine and around the world need urgent humanitarian aid. We're using our voice to demand action, and you can, too," they wrote with the video.

"On 9 April, the biggest online event 'Social Media Rally' will support people who were forced to flee Ukraine. I'm inviting everybody: musicians, actors, athletes, businessmen, politicians, everybody. Everyone who wants to join this movement and 'Stand Up for Ukraine,'" Zelenskyy said while announcing the movement last month.

Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades. Details of the devastation change by the day, but hundreds of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. More than a million Ukrainians have also fled, the United Nations says.

The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia.

With NATO forces massing in the region around Ukraine, various countries have also pledged aid or military support to the resistance. Zelenskyy called for peace talks — so far unsuccessful — while urging his country to fight back.

Putin, 69, insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy, 44, vowed not to bend. "Nobody is going to break us, we're strong, we're Ukrainians," he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting, adding: "Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness."

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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