The Ukrainian group which won the Eurovision song contest earlier this month has auctioned off their trophy and will use the funds to buy a drone for the Ukrainian military to assist their fight against the Russian invaders.
Kalush Orchestra, a rap-folk band, who won the competition with their song “Stefania,” sold the trophy through the cryptocurrency exchange WhiteBit for an astonishing $900,000 US.
It is said that the money will be used to buy a PD-2 unmanned aerial system , which includes three aircraft and a ground control station, and will shore up Ukraine’s defensive position against the might of the Russian army.
The band said in a statement:
“You guys are amazing! We appreciate each and every one of you who donated to this auction, and a special thanks to the team (of cryptocurrency exchange) Whitebit who purchased the trophy for $900,000 and are now the rightful owners of our trophy.”
The band of six returned immediately after the annual competition in Italy ended as all men aged 18 to 60 are legally required to fight in the conflict. The group had to get special dispensation to leave Ukrainian borders.
Drones have played a huge part in the defence of Ukraine, in particular the Turkish made Bayraktar drones which are unmanned and capable of hitting targets such as tanks on the ground with pinpoint precision. Ukraine is said to have dozens of these drones and released footage has shown many Russian vehicles being destroyed.
While Russia initially invaded Ukraine from three sides, it was beaten back by Ukrainian defenders outside of Kyiv, forcing the country into a humiliating retreat. Russian forces are now entirely focused on the eastern Donbass region containing the self-declared ‘republics’ of Donetsk and Luhansk. While Ukraine continues to put up a strong defence, there have been reports in recent days that Russian forces have seized some towns in the region and are making some further advances. Tens of thousands are thought to have already been killed in the three month war, though exact numbers are hard to come by.
[Based on reporting by: New York Post]