Ukraine wins Eurovision as Russia continues onslaught in East

Eurovision Song Contest

A Ukrainian hip-hop group, Kalush Orchestra, on Sunday won the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 title in Turin, Italy.

President Volodymyr Zelensky took to his Facebook page to thank the group for winning the title for Ukraine and expressed his hope for the 2023 edition to be hosted in the country.

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I believe – not for the last time.

“Thank you for the victory Kalush Orchestra and everyone who voted for us!”

After their performance, the frontman for the Kalush Orchestra, Oleg Psyuk, called for help for thise still stranded in Russian held areas.

“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now,” he said in English.

The song titled Stephania is a rap lullaby combining folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

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Stefania, which beat out a host of over-the-top acts at the quirky annual musical event, was written by frontman Oleh Psyuk as a tribute to his mother before the war — but its nostalgic lyrics have taken on outsized meaning because of the conflict.

Eurovision gives hope

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s forces continue to fight off a fierce Russian onslaught on the east of the country, but the Eurovision victory gave the country a much-needed boost of morale.

Western analysts believe President Vladimir Putin has his sights on annexing southern and eastern Ukraine in the months ahead but his troops have appeared to be encountering stiff resistance.

Russia’s war in Ukraine is increasingly shifting the balance of power in Europe, with Finland and Sweden poised to jettison decades of military non-alignment to join NATO as a defence against feared further aggression from Moscow.

Helsinki is set to formally announce its bid for membership on Sunday.

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There was also optimism from Kyiv’s head of military intelligence, who told the UK’s Sky News on Saturday that the war could reach a “breaking point” by August and end in defeat for Russia before the end of the year.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov told the news network that he was “optimistic” about the current trajectory of the conflict.

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