Ukraine’s Eurovision 2022 victory is celebrated by Ukrainian, world leaders

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Polina Falkovskaya does not consider herself a party man. “I don’t dance. I never go out, “he says.

On Saturday, however, Ukrainian Falkovskaya, living in Germany, was dancing – in her kitchen and in her pajamas, no less.

Like millions of Ukrainians, Folkovskaya was celebrating the victory of the Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra in the Eurovision Song Contest. The band’s victory, which gave Ukraine the right to host a massively popular event in 2023, was secured by an audience vote and cheered by world leaders as a sign of strong public support for Ukraine as it approached the three-month border war with Russia.

The Ukrainian band won the Eurovision Song Contest when the war broke out in the country

“For the first time [since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine]”We heard the song and didn’t feel guilty,” Falkowskaya, 23, told The Post from Munich, where he and his mother had settled in Odessa since fleeing their home in early March. “We finally relaxed and shed some tears.”

European Council President Charles Michel congratulated the Kalush Orchestra on Twitter and hoped that next year’s competition in Kyiv could be held in a “free and united Ukraine”.

Ukraine’s response to Eurovision’s victory underscored the political understore of the bizarre musical event, from which Russia was excluded after invading Ukraine.

Officials in Kiev portrayed the victory in the Kiev war with Russia as a sign of victory, and the Kalush Orchestra used the Eurovision stage to call for help from troops inside the Mariupol and Azovostal steel plants. On Sunday, the band released a music video for “Stefania”, the song that helped end its first-place Eurovision, which was filmed in the war-torn region of Ukraine.

Inside the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, a symbol of heroism and terror

But for many Ukrainians, the competition was a rare opportunity to have fun and think about something other than war as it entered its 81st day.

“When they said we won, I shouted all over the apartment,” Ivana Khavaliboga told the BBC from Poland.

Khavaliboga, one of more than 6 million Ukrainians who have fled their country since Russia’s February 24 invasion, said Ukraine’s victory had “brought incredible joy to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”

For Falkowski, who watched the final with his mother and their two Labradors, it was also an opportunity to connect with the family, as his honest father watched the competition with them over the phone from Odessa.

“The show has seemed a bit unfocused in recent episodes,” he said.

That “easy” moment has become even more significant because of the war in Ukraine. “When you have a fight, you begin to realize how much you miss … the little things,” Falkovskaya told the Post. When Ukraine won Eurovision, “I got my little things back, and so I’m very happy today. Hopefully, it will last a while now. ”

In a Facebook post, Folkovskaya wrote that the victory of Eurovision “brought back a lot of inspiration and strength to our country. Happiness, tears of joy, laughter. “

Government of Ukraine Tweet On its official account: “You have melted our hearts, friends,” adding that victory “is important to us in the world at this time.”

On social media, Ukrainians hailed a victory that the Kalush Orchestra Frontman, Oleh Siuk, called a victory “for all Ukrainians.”

A video of Ukrainian television presenter Timur Miroshenichenko responds with absolute joy to the band’s victory during a live presentation from a bomb shelter in Ukraine, which has been viewed more than 400,000 times on Twitter.

In a series of photographs taken by Reuters photographer Valentin Ogirenko, Ukrainian service members who watched the Eurovision final from their position near Kiev cheered with applause as they announced the victory.

Although Eurovision is a competition, and one country by definition wins 39 other countries, many world leaders immediately hailed the Kalush Orchestra’s victory.

NATO Deputy Secretary-General, Mircia Giona, congratulated the Ukrainian people, saying the results showed “widespread public support for the courage of the Ukrainian people throughout Europe and Australia.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described it “Great results” – Even the vote of the fans pushed his country’s entry into the second place in a competition which usually arouses a strong feeling of patriotism among the tough fans.

“Our courage captivates the world, our music conquers Europe!” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Instagram after the results were announced.

Next year, Ukraine is expected to host the competition, an occasion that Zelensky said he believes will not end. The president hoped that one day Kyiv could “host Eurovision participants and guests in the Ukrainian Mariupol” – a southern port city devastated by Russian forces.

“I am convinced that our victory in the war against the enemy is not far off,” he said, adding that Ukraine’s victory in Eurovision was linked to the possibility of victory against Russian forces.

The Kalush Orchestra’s victory also received praise from relatives of Ukrainian warriors trapped inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol after the band’s frontman issued an appeal for their loved ones from the Eurovision stage.

“I urge all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovostal now, ”said Siuk after the band performed in the grand finale. Ukrainian officials say they are negotiating with Russia for the release of the remaining wounded fighters inside the Azovstal, with some fighters even saying they are ready to prevent their deaths in order to protect the steel plant.

Mariupol’s last Ukrainian fighters vow to fight ‘as long as we live’

Although Pseud says the song “Stefania” was written for her mother before the war, the music video posted by the band on Sunday, which depicts scenes of destruction depicted in a war-torn area near Kiev, turns it into a kind of disguise. To the Ukrainian forces. This is the latest example of Ukraine’s use of cultural diplomacy in its conflict with Russia.

The video exposes members of the Kalush Orchestra walking through the rubble of bombed-out buildings as Ukrainian service members carry children safely through fires and other hazards. Children reunite with their families at refugee centers and train stations, as service members – all women – look at the camera, some of them in tears.

The video ends with a shot of a young girl who looks like a Molotov cocktail, followed by a message from the band. “The video was shot in the cities near Bucha, Irpin, Borodanka, Hostomel, Kiev that suffered the horrors of the Russian occupation,” it said. The video is dedicated to “brave Ukrainian people”, “mothers protecting children” and “those who gave their lives for our freedom”.

The music video explains how Ukraine has occasionally used music, film and other industries for political purposes. Members of the Kalush Orchestra have received special permission to travel to Italy for Eurovision, although Ukraine has banned most men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving their country if called upon to fight.

Ukraine’s parliament on Sunday posted a video with a snippet of the song’s lyrics on its telegram page. “The world must see it!” The message says. “It’s impossible to hold back the tears.”

Eurovision Song Contest is often political, as dozens of countries compete for points from national juries and audiences. In 2016, after Russia occupied Crimea, Ukrainian singer Jamala won Eurovision with a song about the Soviet exile of Crimean Tatars during World War II.

Another Ukrainian band, Antitilla, recently collaborated with Ed Sheeran on a remix of Sheeran’s single “Step 2”. The accompanying music video also includes scenes from a destroyed building in Ukraine. The lead singer of Antilles, who volunteered to fight Russia with the rest of the band, sang in military uniforms about wanting to reunite with loved ones after the war.

Ukrainian band Ed Sheeran has released a remix – while fighting Russia

Ellen Francis and Meryl Cornfield contributed to this report.

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