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Eurovision winner sells trophy to purchase drones for Ukraine


The Ukrainian band which took home the highest prize on the Eurovision Song Contest has sold its trophy for $900,000 with the intention to buy drones to assist their native country fight off the Russian invasion.

Kalush Orchestra, the rap-folk band that won the May 14 competition with its song “Stefania,” sold the crystal mic trophy to an Estonia-based cryptocurrency exchange, WhiteBit.

The band announced on its Facebook page that it sold the trophy at auction.

“You guys are amazing!” the band wrote.

“We appreciate every one in every of you who donated to this auction, and a special due to the team (of cryptocurrency exchange) Whitebit who purchased the trophy for $900,000 and are actually the rightful owners of our trophy.”

The funds raised can be used to buy the PD-2 unmanned aerial system, which incorporates three aircraft and a ground control station, Ukrainian television host Serhiy Prytula said on the auction.

The Eurovision trophy sold for $900,000.Luca Bruno/AP

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine singing Stefania.Kalush Orchestra won the competition with their song “Stefania.”Luca Bruno/AP

Band leader Oleg Psiuk and his five cohorts were called to return to their country immediately after their victory.

The Kyiv government has ordered all men aged 18 to 60 to stay in Ukraine through the conflict with Russia. However the all-male group was allowed to go away to compete at the competition in Turin, Italy.

Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, now in its fourth month, has claimed hundreds of civilian lives, caused tens of millions of Ukrainians to flee, and reduced cities to rubble.

Ukrainian activists work on a drone.The funds raised can be used to buy the PD-2 unmanned aerial system.Aleksey Flippov/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine war damage.All Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 were ordered to stay within the country through the conflict with Russia, but Kalush Orchestra was allowed to go away to compete in the competition.AP

Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from “fascists.” Ukraine and the West say that allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

Over the weekend, Ukrainian forces endured heavy artillery barrages as they held off Russian attempts to capture Sievierodonetsk, the biggest city Ukraine still controls within the eastern region of Luhansk.

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