Ukrainian Eurovision winner Jamala forced to flee country after ‘explosions near home’ in Kyiv

Jamala singing on the Eurovision stage / Jamala with her two children

Ukrainian Eurovision winner Jamala has been forced to flee the country with her two children.

Jamala, who won Eurovision 2016 for Ukraine, told Israel’s Kan News that she decided to leave Kyiv with her two children on 24 February “when explosions were heard near to my house”.

Jamala went through Romania to Istanbul, where she is now staying with her sister. She told Kan News: “We decided to go with my children to Western Ukraine… There we spent a night in a village (with) some people. We thought about staying there and waiting for some time (to see if) the situation clears up.”

She explained that she left her husband and his father behind because they wanted to “help mothers and kids to cross the border”.

She explained that she hopes to return to Kyiv, adding: “We don’t have any choice to lose our country.”

While fleeing, Jamala posted an Instagram photo with her children, saying she wanted to “wake up and hear that it’s just a movie”.

“We left Kyiv with the children, spent almost four days in the car, at spontaneous stops, completely without food, which in a state of shock no one even thought to take,” she wrote.


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A post shared by Jamala (@jamalajaaa)

Jamala added in the interview with Kan News that Eurovision made the “right decision” to ban Russia from the song contest this year.

“In general any protest is a good. In this case, Eurovision is a big significant international contest. It will definitely be meaning something to them. I thank Eurovision for this decision,” she said.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, LGBT+ activists in the country have said they will “never give up”, and that Putin will “break all his teeth trying to bite”.

Kyiv Pride, one of the country’s biggest LGBT+ rights groups, hit out at Russia and Vladimir Putin on Twitter on Thursday morning as news of the invasion broke.

“We remain strong, we are not intimidated,” the organisation wrote.

“Putin will break all his teeth trying to bite us. We have left far behind the past to which he seeks to draw us. We are a country that has chosen the values of human rights, humanity, life and personality.

“Putin lives in the past, he has a place there.”