Ukraine says Russians are stepping up attacks in the east but retreating in the north

Ukraine says Russians are stepping up attacks in the east but retreating in the north

Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine poses after winning the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, May 15.
Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine poses after winning the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, May 15. (Yara Nardi/Reuters)

With a symbolic victory more than three months after the Russian invasion, Ukraine took top honors at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The annual songwriting and performance competition is often seen as an opportunity to celebrate a diversity of musical styles, appreciate its sometimes cheesy presentations, and feel national pride. The winner is chosen by panels of professional musicians and television viewers across Europe, although the audience cannot vote for their own country’s entrant.

Contestants are warned to refrain from political issues, however the mood of the day can affect votes and Ukraine has been recognized as a favorite in this year’s competition.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the band on Instagram seconds after Ukraine’s victory was announced.

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he said in the post. Alluding to the rule that a winner of last year’s competition gets to host the competition, he said: “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in their history. And I think – not the last time. We will do our best.” one day host the participants and guests of the Eurovision Song Contest in Mariupol, Ukraine. Free, Peaceful, Rebuilt!”

The participant from Ukraine was a group called the Kalush Orchestra, who performed a folk/hip-hop song called “Stefania” about the lead singer’s mother.

Kalush is the name of the town where singer Oleh Psyuk grew up, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, some 600 kilometers west of Kyiv.

The folk-rap group initially took second place in Ukraine’s national selection competition, but were boosted after it was revealed the original winner had previously traveled to Russia-annexed Crimea. They were unveiled upon entering the country on February 22, two days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

“As we speak, our country and our culture are under threat. But we want to show that we are alive, Ukrainian culture is alive, it’s unique, diverse and beautiful,” the band’s frontman Oleg Psyuk previously told CNN.

Eurovision is one of the most-watched events in the world, excluding sports, with hundreds of millions of viewers, and thanks to this wide audience it often launches or revitalizes the careers of songwriters, artists and featured songs.

Traditionally, the victorious nation hosts the following year’s event, which attracts thousands of spectators and entertainment journalists, drawing attention to the country’s tourism industry.

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