Eurovision winner Kalush Orchestra frontman kisses girlfriend goodbye to join Ukraine frontline

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The frontman from Kalush Orchestra who won last night’s Eurovision song contest has kissed his girlfriend goodbye to join the frontline in Ukraine’s ongoing war against Russia.

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Oleg Psiuk, the frontman of the folk rap group, was pictured embracing his girlfriend Oleksandra outside his hotel in Turin, Italy today as he left to defend Ukraine from President Vladimir Putin.

Wearing his signature pink hat and carrying a rucksack, Psiuk’s belongings were placed into a Taxi ready to head to the airport.

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Last night, President Zelensky vowed to hold Eurovision in Mariupol next year after an outpouring of support from the European public propelled Ukraine to victory.

The war-torn nation ended on 631 points while the UK finished second with 466 points. Spain finished third with 459 with Sweden fourth on 438. 

Volodymyr Zelensky was quick to hail the victory – and even vowed to hold next year’s competition in Mariupol, despite the city being besieged by Russian forces. 

The frontman from Kalush Orchestra who won last night's Eurovision song contest has kissed his girlfriend goodbye and joined the frontline in Ukraine's war against Russia

The frontman from Kalush Orchestra who won last night’s Eurovision song contest has kissed his girlfriend goodbye and joined the frontline in Ukraine’s war against Russia

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Wearing his signature pink hat and carrying a rucksack, Psiuk's belongings were placed into a Taxi ready to head to the airport earlier today

Wearing his signature pink hat and carrying a rucksack, Psiuk’s belongings were placed into a Taxi ready to head to the airport earlier today 

The Eurovision results are a defiant message to Vladimir Putin as Ukraine's success was followed by a stunning second place for the UK

The Eurovision results are a defiant message to Vladimir Putin as Ukraine’s success was followed by a stunning second place for the UK

Kalush Orchestra pose with their relatives and the trophy before leaving Universo Hotel after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest last night

Kalush Orchestra pose with their relatives and the trophy before leaving Universo Hotel after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest last night

Winners folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra delivered an emotional rendition of their song Stefania, which has become a war anthem for Ukraine during the invasion

Winners folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra delivered an emotional rendition of their song Stefania, which has become a war anthem for Ukraine during the invasion

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Oleg Psiuk, the frontman of the folk rap group, was pictured embracing his girlfriend Oleksandra outside his hotel in Turin, Italy today as he left to defend Ukraine from President Vladimir Putin

Oleg Psiuk, the frontman of the folk rap group, was pictured embracing his girlfriend Oleksandra outside his hotel in Turin, Italy today as he left to defend Ukraine from President Vladimir Putin 

Psiuk (right) talks with the group's manager as he leaves Universo Hotel after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy

Psiuk (right) talks with the group’s manager as he leaves Universo Hotel after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy

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 the last. We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt.

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‘I thank the Kalush Orchestra for this victory and everyone who gave us your votes. I am sure that the sound of victory in the battle with the enemy is not far off. Glory to Ukraine.’

The Eurovision results are a defiant message to Vladimir Putin as Ukraine’s success was followed by a stunning second place for the UK. 

Britain, a staunch ally of Zelensky’s Ukraine during the Russian invasion, almost pulled off a shock win after leading for most of the night, before being pipped at the end.

In contrast, Germany and France, whose leaders have come under criticism for not being tough enough on Russia’s aggression, were the two last placed nations in this year’s contest. 

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Speaking about the band’s win this evening via a press conference livestream, frontman Psiuk said: ‘We’d like to thank everyone for voting for Ukraine – this victory means a lot to us. This win will lift spirits and lead to more wins across all fronts.’

Psiuk also said the band will celebrate their Eurovision win ‘after the war’, adding: ‘People are getting killed in the war or they fight in the war or lose their jobs in Ukraine, it is not really the best backdrop for celebrations.’

He added: ‘Our culture is under attack. We wanted to present our music to the world last night. I wrote the Eurovision song for my mum way before the war – but afterwards, it started taking a different meaning for different people.

‘I’m going back home as I run a volunteering organisation that helps refugees with food, accommodation, and medication. I will keep doing that. We will host Eurovision in a newly rebuilt and happy Ukraine.’

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Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine stand on the stage after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Palaolimpico arena, in Turin last night

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine stand on the stage after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Palaolimpico arena, in Turin last night

After their performance last night, the band's front man, Psiuk, took advantage of the enormous global audience to make impassioned plea to free fighters still trapped beneath a sprawling steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol

After their performance last night, the band’s front man, Psiuk, took advantage of the enormous global audience to make impassioned plea to free fighters still trapped beneath a sprawling steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol

Kalush Orchestra had earlier delivered an emotional rendition of their song Stefania for Ukraine. The band was the favourite to win amid Vladimir Putin's invasion of their country

Kalush Orchestra had earlier delivered an emotional rendition of their song Stefania for Ukraine. The band was the favourite to win amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of their country

Britain's Sam Ryder had looked on course for a shock victory before the public vote saw him knocked into second - the UK's best result for 20 years

Britain’s Sam Ryder had looked on course for a shock victory before the public vote saw him knocked into second – the UK’s best result for 20 years

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Winners folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra delivered an emotional rendition of their song Stefania, which has become a war anthem for Ukraine during the invasion. 

Receiving the coveted trophy, the band said: ‘Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini.’ 

Despite missing out on a stunning win, Britain’s Sam Ryder still achieved the UK’s best result for 20 years as he finished second.

Graham Norton, who presented the contest on BBC One, said: ‘This is a red letter moment. I am so happy for him, for the UK and for the BBC who have worked so hard to turn our fortunes.’

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The 32-year-old Tik Tok star won over the audience, dazzling in a one piece suit encrusted with beads and pearls. 

After topping the national jury vote with 283 points, beating out favourites Spain and Sweden, Ryder said: ‘There is so much gratitude, what an experience.’

He found fame covering songs on TikTok during lockdown, amassing 12 million followers and catching the attention of global stars including Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys. 

Kalush Orchestra was the favourite to win amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of their country, with both Russia and Belarus banned from competing in the contest.  

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Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine singing Stefania performs during the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Palaolimpico arena, in Turin

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine singing Stefania performs during the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Palaolimpico arena, in Turin

The stage is lit in the colours of the Ukraine flag as Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine perform live during the Grand Final of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest in Turin

The stage is lit in the colours of the Ukraine flag as Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine perform live during the Grand Final of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest in Turin

Members of the band "Kalush Orchestra", Oleh Psiuk, Tymofii Muzychuk, Ihor Didenchuk, Vitalii Duzhyk, Oleksandr Slobodianyk and Vlad Kurochka, who perform on behalf of Ukraine

Members of the band ‘Kalush Orchestra’, Oleh Psiuk, Tymofii Muzychuk, Ihor Didenchuk, Vitalii Duzhyk, Oleksandr Slobodianyk and Vlad Kurochka, who perform on behalf of Ukraine

After their earlier performance, front man Oleg Psiuk took advantage of the enormous global audience to make impassioned plea to free fighters still trapped beneath a sprawling steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol. ‘I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal, right now,’ he said. 

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Zelenskyy earlier said: ‘Indeed, this is not a war, but nevertheless, for us today, any victory is very important. So, let’s cheer for ours. Glory be to Ukraine!’   

The members of Kalush Orchestra dressed in elaborate outfits, including long multi-coloured fringed ensembles, a pink bucket hat and traditional patterns as they took to the stage.

Their performance, which combined rap and Ukrainian folklore, went down well with the audience of 7,000 in the Pala Olimpico, who cheered the group on with many waving Ukrainian flags.

At the end of the performance, which included break-dancing, the group thanked everyone for supporting Ukraine.

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The band’s song, ‘Stefania,’ was written as a tribute to the frontman’s mother, but has transformed since Russia’s invasion on February 24 into a war anthem.

The lyrics ‘I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed,’ written by frontman Oleh Psiuk, are said to have taken on a special meaning in light of the war. 

The six-member, all-male band received special permission to leave the country to represent Ukraine and Ukrainian culture at the music contest. One of the original members stayed to fight and the others plan to return as soon as the contest is over.

Ukrainian service members watch the performance of Subwoolfer from Norway during the final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest

Ukrainian service members watch the performance of Subwoolfer from Norway during the final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest

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Members of the band "Kalush Orchestra" pose onstage with the winner's trophy and Ukraine's flags after winning on behalf of Ukraine the Eurovision Song contest 2022 on May 14, 2022 at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin

Members of the band ‘Kalush Orchestra’ pose onstage with the winner’s trophy and Ukraine’s flags after winning on behalf of Ukraine the Eurovision Song contest 2022 on May 14, 2022 at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin

At the end of the performance, which included break-dancing, the group thanked everyone for supporting Ukraine.

The band’s song, ‘Stefania,’ was written as a tribute to the frontman’s mother, but has transformed since Russia’s invasion on February 24 into a war anthem.

The lyrics ‘I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed,’ written by frontman Oleh Psiuk, are said to have taken on a special meaning in light of the war. 

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The six-member, all-male band received special permission to leave the country to represent Ukraine and Ukrainian culture at the music contest. One of the original members stayed to fight and the others plan to return as soon as the contest is over.

At the end of the performance, which included break-dancing, the group thanked everyone for supporting Ukraine.  

Graham Norton, who once again anchored the contest on BBC One, said: ‘We weren’t sure they were going to make it but they have made it.

‘Their commentator did not make it, he is commentating from a bomb shelter.’

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Meanwhile, chilling images have emerged of cruel taunts scrawled on the side of Russian bombs destined for Mariupol in the wake of Ukraine’s success at the Eurovision song contest last night.

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, who stormed to victory having delivered a rousing folk-rap rendition of their song ‘Stefania’, made an impassioned plea during their winners’ speech calling on Europe to provide further aid and evacuate the soldiers still trapped in the southern port city’s Azovstal steel works.

Chilling images have emerged of cruel taunts scrawled on the side of Russian bombs destined for Mariupol in the wake of Ukraine's success at the Eurovision song contest last night. 'Just as you asked for, Kalusha! For Azovstal,' the message reads - a mocking retort to Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra's plea for further aid in Ukraine and for the evacuation of Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

Chilling images have emerged of cruel taunts scrawled on the side of Russian bombs destined for Mariupol in the wake of Ukraine’s success at the Eurovision song contest last night. ‘Just as you asked for, Kalusha! For Azovstal,’ the message reads – a mocking retort to Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra’s plea for further aid in Ukraine and for the evacuation of Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

'#Eurovision2022. I heard the call to f*** up Azov,' is written on the side of a Russian OFAB 250-270 high explosive fragmentation bomb destined to be dropped on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

‘#Eurovision2022. I heard the call to f*** up Azov,’ is written on the side of a Russian OFAB 250-270 high explosive fragmentation bomb destined to be dropped on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

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Petr Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, shared the images of the Russian bombs on his own Telegram channel, where he condemned Putin's forces for having 'lost their humanity'. 'They are just inhuman... they have lost anything remotely similar to humanism and humanity... This is the reaction of the Russian military to our victory at Eurovision 2022... In Russia, a century of repentance will follow the losses,' he said.

Petr Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, shared the images of the Russian bombs on his own Telegram channel, where he condemned Putin’s forces for having ‘lost their humanity’. ‘They are just inhuman… they have lost anything remotely similar to humanism and humanity… This is the reaction of the Russian military to our victory at Eurovision 2022… In Russia, a century of repentance will follow the losses,’ he said.

Pictured: Russian Incendiary munitions fall over the vast Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, in a terrifying video posted to social media on Sunday showing the scale of the damage that has been done to the vast coastal complex

Pictured: Russian Incendiary munitions fall over the vast Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, in a terrifying video posted to social media on Sunday showing the scale of the damage that has been done to the vast coastal complex

‘I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal, right now,’ said the band’s frontman Oleh Psiuk.

But this morning, pictures posted on Telegram by pro-Kremlin and pro-war channel FighterBomber showed Russian shells emblazoned with messages mocking the band’s call for help, hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to hold Eurovision in Mariupol next year.

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‘Just as you asked for, Kalusha! For Azovstal,’ the messages read.

‘#Eurovision2022. I heard the call to f*** up Azov. Help Mariupol. Help Mariupol right now.’ 

Petr Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, shared the images of the Russian bombs on his own Telegram channel, where he condemned Putin’s forces for having ‘lost their humanity’.

The OFAB 250-270 bombs on which the taunts were written are high explosive fragmentation devices designed to destroy military-industrial facilities, armoured vehicles and large groups of soldiers by spraying a torrent of armour piercing shrapnel over a large area.

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‘They are just inhuman… they have lost anything remotely similar to humanism and humanity,’ the adviser declared.

‘This is the reaction of the Russian military to our victory at Eurovision 2022… In Russia, a century of repentance will follow the losses.’

Russia continued its brutal bombardment of Azovstal in the early hours of the morning, dropping what appeared to be devastating incendiary explosives on the already heavily damaged plant where Ukrainian soldiers have been making a final stand against Putin’s onslaught. 

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