Ukraine’s Eurovision winners raise $900,000 for military by auctioning trophy

Entertainment

Ukraine’s Eurovision winners, Kalush Orchestra, have raised $900,000 (£713,000) for the country’s military by auctioning their trophy.

During the contest, the band’s song Stefania received a huge show of support from the rest of the continent following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Kalush Orchestra sold the crystal microphone they received in a Facebook auction hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula on Sunday.

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The money will be used to buy the PD-2 drone system for the Ukrainian armed forces, which includes three aircraft and a ground control station, Mr Prytula said.

The winning bid of 500 Ethereums – valued at $900,000 or £713,000 – was placed by WhiteBit, a European cryptocurrency exchange that says it has more than two million users.

Bids were accepted in both cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies.

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The auction was accompanied by a raffle for lead singer Oleh Psiuk’s signature pink bucket hat, with tickets priced at €5 each.

Mr Prytula said the raffle had raised an extra $370,000 (£293,000) for the Ukrainian military, with more than 31,000 people from 56 countries taking part.

Kalush Orchestra had been out on the streets fighting off Russian aggressors just weeks before taking to the stage in Turin – instead of rehearsing for the biggest performance of their lives.

Following their win, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy defiantly vowed that next year’s contest will be held in Mariupol. The city is currently almost entirely in Russian hands.

The group later released a dramatic video of their song set against images from several cities near Kyiv – Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka and Hostomel.

Children were shown being carried from bombed-out buildings by women dressed in combat gear.

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