Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy on Sunday. Kalush Orchestra received a total of 631 votes to beat Britain’s Sam Ryder and Chanel of Spain, who finished second and third, respectively.
Ukraine had finished fourth on jury voting before getting 439 fan votes, which is the highest number of television-vote points ever received in a Eurovision contest.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was overwhelmed by Kalush Orchestra’s victory.
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” Zelenskyy said.
“I am sure that the sound of victory in the battle with the enemy is not far off,” Zelenskyy added.
With the war with Russia now entering the third month, the people of Ukraine have been pleading for support ever since the Russian invasion began on February 24 this year.
Kalush Orchestra frontman Oleh Psiuk made a plea at the end of their live performance.
“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now,” Psiuk shouted from the stage.
After the victory, Psiuk thanked everyone who voted for them. “Everyone around the world who voted for Ukraine. … The victory is very important to Ukraine. Especially this year.”
Psiuk said he was unsure what lies ahead for them as the band would return to Ukraine but confirmed that the Ukrainians would fight “until the end.”
“It’s hard to say what exactly I am going to do because this is the first time I have won the Eurovision Song Contest, but anyway, like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end,” he said.