Ukraine war: Eurovision trophy sold to buy drones for Ukraine

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Members of the band "Kalush Orchestra" pose on stage 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 TurinImage source, AFP
Image caption,
On stage with the trophy in Turin

Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band which won this year's Eurovision Song Contest, have sold their trophy for $900,000 (£712,000; €838,000) to raise money for the war in Ukraine.

The crystal microphone was auctioned on Facebook, with the aim of buying drones for Ukraine's military.

The sale coincided with the band's appearance at a charity concert at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

It aimed to raise money for medical care and supplies.

Speaking at the concert, band member Oleh Psiuk appealed for people not to get used to the war, which has left at least 4,031 civilians dead and 4,735 injured, according to the UN, along with an unknown number of combatants.

It has also forced more than 14 million people to flee their homes since Russia invaded on 24 February, with towns and cities reduced to rubble.

"I think it should be on the front pages always, until peace comes," said Psiuk, whose Eurovision win had been hotly tipped in the run up to the contest. Their song, Stefania, was originally written in tribute to Psiuk's mother, but emotive lyrics like "I will always walk to you by broken roads" have been re-interpreted as a rallying cry.

Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula announced that the money raised from the sale of the trophy would be used to purchase three Ukrainian-made PD-2 drones, Reuters news agency reports.

Drones are used heavily by Ukrainian and Russian forces, both as weapons and reconnaissance aircraft.

Media caption,

Ukraine stormed into the lead following huge public support

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