Ukraine triumphed at the 66th edition of the Eurovision song contest, held in Italy, winning the competition for the third time in its history, as the UK and Spain finished second and third respectively.
Boosted by a wave of support from the European public, who voted via telephone, the song “Stefania” performed by the Kalush Orchestra, won the contest facing stiff competition from the UK, Spain, and Sweden.
“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now,” lead singer Oleh Psiuk shouted from the stage after the band’s performance.
In a video released before the much-awaited event, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he believed the Kalush Orchestra could win, calling for Europe to support the Ukrainian song at the Eurovision contest.
Ukraine had already won Eurovision in 2004 with “Wild Dances” by Ruslana, and in 2016 with the song “1944” by Jamala, becoming the first Eastern European country to win the contest twice.
Ukraine was one of the favorites since the start of the 2022 edition after Russian troops invaded the country on February 24.
The day after the invasion, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which owns the rights to Eurovision, announced that Russia would be banned from the edition.
The winning song, which mixes rap with elements of Ukrainian folk music, was originally written to honor the mother of the band’s frontman and has been re-dedicated to all matriarchs in Ukraine, with parts of the lyrics recalling the conflict that is devastating the country.
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