Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra sell trophy to fund drones for Ukraine war

The funds raised will be used to buy drones for Ukraine’s armed forces

Tom Ambrose
Monday 30 May 2022 07:52 BST
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra thank the world for Eurovision win

The winners of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest have raised more than £700,000 for the Ukrainian war effort by selling the competition’s trophy.

Hip-hop group Kalush Orchestra were propelled to victory in the music contest with their entry ‘Stefania’ earlier this month after a surge of public support from across the continent saw them claim an emotional win.

It was reported that on Sunday that they had sold the crystal microphone trophy in a Facebook auction led by the Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula.

The Reuters news agency reported that Prytula said the funds raised would be used to purchase for the armed forces the PD-2 unmanned drone system, which includes three aircraft and a ground control station.

Kalush Orchestea secured their remarkable win after votes from the European public saw them overtake the UK’s entry from singer Sam Ryder in the contest hosted in Turin, Italy.

It comes as the Ukrainian group said that next year’s competition ought to be held in a “newly rebuilt” Ukraine, a sentiment apparently supported by the country’s president Volodymr Zelensky.

“If the president said it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Oleh Psiuk, of the group, said. “We’ll host Eurovision in a newly rebuilt and happy Ukraine.”

Psiuk added that it meant a lot to the group to be able to “bring some good news to Ukraine”.

“Our culture is under attack and we’re trying to present our culture to the world, [and] present our music that is unique, that is authentic, and [that] has a unique signature.”

Russia's invasion on Ukraine, now in its fourth month, has claimed thousands of civilian lives, sent millions of Ukrainians fleeing and reduced cities to rubble.

While Moscow still calls its brutal war a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and “protect” it from fascists, Ukraine and its Western allies say that claim is baseless.

Over the weekend, Ukrainian forces endured heavy artillery barrages as they held off Russian attempts to capture Sievierodonetsk, the largest city Ukraine still controls in the eastern region of Luhansk.

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