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As Ukraine celebrates victory following last night’s Eurovision win, the country’s soldiers are seeing it as a hopeful sign of things to come in their fight against Russia.
Ukraine was crowned the winning nation after receiving 631 points from both public and jury votes, thanks to Kalush Orchestra’s entry ‘Stefania’.
As viewers watched along at home, a small group of Ukrainian soldiers gathered in a basement used as safe quarters north of Kyiv to see how their country would fare, eventually finding joy not only in the results of the competition, but also the hope that it provided the war-torn nation.
Speaking to Reuters, a military medic called Tetyana said: "We had a victory: today in Eurovision, but soon we will have a victory in Ukraine-Russian war.”
The fighters sat around a television screen to watch the action unfold, some drumming along on their knees as Ukraine’s act performed. When the winner of the contest was announced, they applauded and cheered with joy.
Vitaliy, a solider, said: "We will also win. We have shown that we can not only fight, but we can also sing very nice."
It is traditional for the winning Eurovision country to become host for the follow year’s event – and it seems things may be no different for Ukraine, even amid Russian invasion.
Despite Ukraine still currently being under attack, President Zelenskyy has promised to host the competition next year in a 'rebuilt' Mariupol.
In a Facebook post, the leader praised the efforts of Kalush Orchestra while also thanking those who voted for Ukraine.
He said: “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.”
Zelenskyy continued: "We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt! I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off. Glory to Ukraine!”
As well as performing and winning the show, the frontman of Kalush Orchestra, rapper Oleh Psiuk, made a moving speech addressing the conflict in his home country.
He referenced Mariupol, specifically calling out for Ukrainian fighters to be freed from Azovstal steel plant, where they have remained trapped.
“The victory is very important to Ukraine, especially this year,” Psiuk said.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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