The Ukrainian winners of last night’s Eurovision song contest have released a powerful new video for their track following their landslide victory last night.
Kalush Orchestra won the contest with its song Stefania, which has become a popular anthem among Ukrainians during the war, and its victory was a morale booster.
Hours after their victory the band released a new music video of its winning hit featuring scenes of war-ravaged Ukraine and women in combat gear.
The release of the film, which was shot in the ravaged cities of Borodyanka, Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, was reportedly delayed to avoid accusations of politicising the competition.
The Ukrainian winners of last night’s Eurovision song contest have released a powerful new video for their track following their landslide victory last night
In the video, female soldiers carry children through destroyed cities as rapper Oleh Psiuk performs amongst the wreckage of destroyed buildings
In the video, female soldiers carry children through destroyed cities as rapper Oleh Psiuk performs amongst the wreckage of destroyed buildings.
Footage then shows some soldiers reuniting some of the children with their loved ones while one walks thorough a graveyard with tombstones decorated with the colours of Ukraine.
The final shot of the video shows a little girl staring into the camera while wielding a molotov cocktail – the homemade explosive which has become synonymous with Ukrainian resistance to Russian forces.
Winners folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra delivered an emotional rendition of their song Stefania, which has become a war anthem for Ukraine during the invasion.
Footage in the powerful music video shows some soldiers reuniting some of the children with their loved ones
The touching video was shot in the ravaged cities of Borodyanka, Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel in Ukraine
Band members must return to Ukraine on Monday after being given special permission to leave the country to attend the competition.
Receiving the coveted trophy, the band said: ‘Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini.’
Kalush Orchestra was the favourite to win amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of their country, with both Russia and Belarus banned from competing in the contest.
After their earlier performance, front man Oleg Psiuk took advantage of the enormous global audience to make impassioned plea to free fighters still trapped beneath a sprawling steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol.
‘I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal, right now,’ he said.
Kalush Orchestra won the contest with its song Stefania and released their powerful video hours after their victory
The harrowing video, showing female soldiers carrying children through destroyed cities, was delayed to avoid accusations of politicising the contest
The video shows footage of a soldier reuniting a child with their loved ones after being separated amid the conflict
Defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later vowed to one day host the Eurovision Song Contest in the embattled city of Mariupol, which is almost entirely in Russian hands aside from a stalwart group of a few hundred Ukrainian fighters who continue to hold out in a steel factory.
‘Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe,’ Mr Zelensky said on Facebook. ‘Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision.’
The band made an impassioned plea during the show to help the fighters still in the Azovstal steel plant in the port city, and Mr Zelensky said ‘one day’ the contest will be held ‘in a Ukrainian Mariupol’.
Mr Zelensky’s optimistic words come as Russian troops are retreating from Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, after bombarding it for weeks, and Moscow’s forces continue to engage in a grinding battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland.
Ukraine’s military said the Russian forces are now pulling back from the north-eastern city to focus on guarding supply routes, while launching mortar, artillery and air strikes in the eastern region of Donetsk in an attempt to ‘deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications’.
Hours after their victory the band released a new music video of its winning hit featuring scenes of war-ravaged Ukraine and women in combat gear
The harrowing video features footage of children being rescued from war-torn areas in Ukraine
Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine is ‘entering a new – long-term – phase of the war’.
Russian forces control a horseshoe-shaped swath of territory in the Ukrainian areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, which make up the eastern Donbas region, along the border of the industrial region where Ukraine has battled Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
In the southern Donbas, the Azov Sea port of Mariupol is now largely in Russian control, except for the few hundred troops left in the factory.
A convoy of between 500 and 1,000 cars carrying civilians out of the city was reportedly able to reach the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia on Saturday, while Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said authorities are negotiating the evacuation of 60 severely wounded troops at the steelworks.
After failing to capture Kyiv following the February 24 invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shifted his focus eastward to the Donbas, aiming to encircle Ukraine’s most experienced and best-equipped troops, and to seize territory still under Ukraine’s control.
Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine stand on the stage after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Palaolimpico arena, in Turin, Italy
Members of the band ‘Kalush Orchestra’ pose onstage with the winner’s trophy and Ukraine’s flags after winning on behalf of Ukraine the Eurovision Song contest 2022 on May 14, 2022 at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin
Air strikes and artillery barrages make it extremely dangerous for journalists to move around in the east, hindering efforts to get a full picture of the fighting. But it appears to be a back-and-forth slog without major breakthroughs on either side.
Russia has captured some Donbas villages and towns, including Rubizhne, which had a pre-war population of around 55,000.
Mr Zelensky said Ukraine’s forces have also made progress in the east, retaking six towns or villages in the past day.
In his nightly address on Saturday, he said ‘the situation in Donbas remains very difficult’ and Russian troops are ‘still trying to come out at least somewhat victorious’.
But he said: ‘Step by step, we are forcing the occupants to leave the Ukrainian land.’
Kharkiv, which is near the Russian border and only 50 miles south-west of the Russian city of Belgorod, has undergone weeks of intense shelling. The largely Russian-speaking city with a pre-war population of 1.4 million was a key military objective earlier in the war, when Moscow hoped to capture and hold major cities.
Ukraine ‘appears to have won the Battle of Kharkiv’, said the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank.
Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest with folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra’s ‘Stefania’, with Sam Ryder second for the UK with Space Man
‘Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone seizing Kharkiv, and then expelled them from around the city, as they did to Russian forces attempting to seize Kyiv.’
Mr Putin has justified the war in Ukraine by claiming it is a response to Nato’s expansion in eastern Europe.
But the invasion has other countries along Russia’s flank worried they could be next, and in the past week the president and prime minister of Finland said they favour seeking Nato membership.
Officials in Sweden are expected to announce a decision on Sunday on whether to apply to join the Western military alliance.
In a phone call on Saturday, Mr Putin told Finnish President Sauli Niinisto that there are no threats to Finland’s security and joining Nato would be an ‘error’ and ‘negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations’.