Ukraine crowned winners of Eurovision Song Contest
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra were crowned winners at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin in the early hours of Sunday, snagging 439 points from the public votes.
"The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine," frontman Oleh Psiuk said in the group's first news conference after the win.
The bookmakers had made it the clear favourite for the annual contest, which normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million, based on the plight of Ukraine following Russia's invasion in February.
At the end of their performance, Psiuk said to the audience in English, "I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol, help Avostal right now."
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the contest, said no action would be taken against the band for using the stage to make a statement.
At the news conference, Kalush Orchestra shared an emotional moment with Ukrainian fan Iryna Shafinkska, a member of their official fan club who now lives in the United States but came to the contest in Turin.
Kalush Orchestra were in fourth place following the jury votes but stormed to the top of the leaderboard after the public votes were announced.
Their entry “Stefania”, sung in Ukrainian, fuses rap with traditional folk music and is a tribute to Psiuk's mother.
It is the third time that Ukraine has won the annual competition.
Russia was barred from this year’s contest following its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.