The 2022 ‘Eurovision’ winners, Kalush Orchestra, have raised $900,000 (£713,000) for Ukraine’s military by auctioning their trophy.
The rap group - comprising Oleh Psiuk, Tymofii Muzychuk Vitalii Duzhyk, Ihor Didenchuk and dancer MC Kilimmen - moved the millions of viewers tuning in for the grand final of the televised song contest in Turin, Italy, earlier this month, when they beat the UK’s entrant, Sam Ryder, to first place with their performance of ‘Stefania’.
And they’ve now revealed they’ve raised a mega-sum of money to help support the soldiers fighting on the frontline amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a Facebook auction hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula on Sunday (29.05.22), they managed to flog the crystal microphone for the impressive amount, which will go towards buying a PD-2 drone system for Ukraine’s military, including three aircraft and a ground control station.
The winning bid was placed by WhiteBit, a cryptocurrency exchange, as they allowed bidders to also pay in cryptocurrencies.
Kalush also hosted a raffle to win frontman Oleh’s pink bucket hat he wore for the ‘Eurovision’ performance.
Tickets were priced at just €5 each, and the raffle raised an additional $370,000 (£293,000) for the cause.
After winning the contest, the band members had to return home to Kyiv “instantly” to continue to fight for their country.
One member was forced to miss out on performing in the final to defend the capital city.
Oleh had said before the final: ”We will be returning instantly so we can deal with [our] own affairs as volunteers and doing everything possible to help the country. One of our band members stayed in the war and is now defending Kyiv in the capital. I created my volunteer organisation helping people with accommodation, travel, transport and medicine all across the Ukraine, We also have a special telegram channel that you can join, write where you’re from and what help you need.”