Famed Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky has shocked the classical world after calling for pressure to be increased on Ukraine by cutting power to the capital Kyiv.
"I have a naive question... I understand that we take pity on them, that we do things delicately, but could we not stop caring about them, besiege them and cut off the electricity?" Berezovsky asked on a talk show on pro-Kremlin channel Pervy Kanal on March 10.
Winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1990, Berezovsky has played all over the world for decades.
"What the Western media say is pure lies," the 53-year-old said.
"We need to win this war and then build something good and nice at home in this country... Eventually the truth will get to the people, I'm sure of it. A year will pass and the truth will win," he added.
Asked about the impact of rising energy prices in the West as a result of the conflict, Berezovsky said: "I don't care what happens in the West, they will find their solutions... I will definitely not go there for the next three years so... it's not my problem."
Many Russian artists, particularly those considered supporters of President Vladimir Putin such as conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko, have been declared persona non grata by Western venues since the invasion.
Pianist and conductor Lars Vogt, musical director of the Paris Chamber Orchestra, was among those reacting to Berezovsky's comments on Twitter.
"I can't believe these words from my ex-friend Boris B. But I hear them from his own mouth. Our friendship is officially over," Vogt said.
Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montera spoke of her "huge disappointment" on Twitter, adding that "musical greatness and empathy don't always go hand in hand."