2022 Eurovision winners The Kalush Orchestra raised $900,000 (£713,000) for the Ukrainian military by auctioning off their trophy.
The rap group, which includes Oleg Psyuk, Timofey Muzychuk, Vitaliy Duzhik, Igor Didenchuk and dancer MC Kilimmen, thrilled millions of viewers who tuned in to the grand final of the TV song contest in Turin, Italy, earlier this month when they beat the British contestant, Sam Ryder, to first place with a performance of “Stephanie”.
And now they have revealed that they have raised a mega sum of money to help support soldiers fighting on the front lines during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At a Facebook auction organized by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula on Sunday (05/29/22), they managed to flog a crystal microphone for an impressive amount that will be used to purchase a PD-2 unmanned system for the Ukrainian armed forces, including three aircraft and a ground control station.
The winning bid was placed by cryptocurrency exchange WhiteBit as they allowed bidders to also pay in cryptocurrencies.
In Kalush, there was also a drawing of frontman Oleg’s pink panama, in which he performed at Eurovision.
Tickets cost only €5 each and the raffle raised an additional $370,000 (£293,000).
After winning the competition, the group members had to “immediately” return home to Kyiv in order to continue the fight for their country.
One participant was forced to miss the performance in the final in order to defend the capital.
Oleg said before the final: “We will immediately return to deal with [our] doing what they do as volunteers and doing their best to help the country. One of the members of our group remained in the war and is now defending Kyiv in the capital. I created my own volunteer organization, I help people with housing, travel, transport and medicine throughout Ukraine. We also have a special telegram channel that you can join, write where you are from and what kind of help you need.”