Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra sell trophy to buy drones for Ukraine’s military

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra pose with their Eurovision trophy

Eurovision Song Contest winners Kalush Orchestra have raised $900,000 (£713,000) for Ukraine’s military by auctioning off their trophy.

The historic moment the group won Eurovision with their entry “Stefania” was an emotional one for viewers around the world. Kalush Orchestra earned 631 points, most of which came from the public vote in a stunning show of solidarity from Europe after Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine in February.

Now, the group has made their victory even more impactful.

On Sunday, the rap and folk band’s crystal microphone trophy was auctioned off via Facebook by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula.

During the auction, Prytula announced that the money raised would go towards a PD-2 unmanned aerial drone system, including three aircraft and a ground control station, for Ukraine’s military.

Kalush Orchestra frontman Oleg Psyuk also sold his now-legendary pink bucket hat in a raffle.

As the war in Ukraine rages on, months after Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky saw the Eurovision win as a sign of hope.

After the competition, he said in a Telegram post that he had no doubt that the country’s capital Mauripol would be ready to host Eurovision next year, as a “free, peaceful, rebuilt” city.

He added: “Thank you for winning, Kalush Orchestra, and everyone who voted for us. I am sure that our victorious chord in battle with the enemy is not far off. Glory to Ukraine!”

In the last few days, the Ukrainian army has been fighting hard to hold off Russia’s efforts to capture the city of Sievierodonetsk, enduring an onslaught from the enemy’s heavy artillery.

Russia is still describing the assault as a “special military operation”, intended to “protect” Ukraine from fascism.

The latest figures from the UN suggest that more than 4,000 civilians have been killed since Russia first invaded Ukraine. This figure includes 261 children.