Ukraine

Eurovision winners raise £713,000 for Ukrainian military by selling trophy

The Kalush Orchestra auctioned off the glass microphone trophy which they won in Turin to buy drones for the military.

Eurovision Song Contest winners Kalush Orchestra have auctioned off their celebrated glass microphone trophy to raise money for the Ukrainian army.

The band, whose song 'Stefania' was triumphant in Turin earlier this month, said they raised $900,000 (£713,000) by auctioning off the trophy, and a further $370,000 (£293,000) by raffling off the pink bucket hat frontman Oleh Psiuk wore during the performance.

The winning bid for the trophy was attributed to Whitebit, a cryptocurrency exchange, and came in the form of 500 Ethereum.

Writing on Facebook, the Ukranian band said: "You guys are amazing!

"We appreciate each and every one of you who donated to this auction and a special thanks to the team Whitebit who purchased the trophy for $900,000 and are now the rightful owners of our trophy."

The auction was hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula and the money is going to his charitable fund, which raises funds for the Ukrainian army in its battle against invading Russian forces.

Prytula said at the auction that the funds raised would be used to purchase the PD-2 unmanned aerial drone system – which includes three aircraft and a ground control station – for the armed forces.

Kalush Orchestra, who were fighting as part of the Ukrainian resistance only weeks before Eurovision, received support from across Europe for their performance.

They beat Britain's Sam Ryder into second place, with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky going on to state in a social media post: "Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision!"

On his official Instagram, Mr Zelensky said: "Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision.

The Ukrainian president added: "For the third time in its history. And as I believe: Not the last. We will do our utmost to one day host the participants and visitors of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful and rebuilt!

"Thank you for winning, Kalush Orchestra, and everyone who voted for us!

"I am sure that our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is approaching.

"Slava Ukraini!" he ended his post.