Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed his country’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest with joy.
The highly favored Kalush Orchestra won the competition on Saturday, with a record 439 votes from people across Europe ensuring its success in an emotional evening in Turin, Italy.
Zelensky later said: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!”
The winner of each year’s Contest traditionally becomes the host of the event the following year, and Zelensky promised that Ukraine would be no exception, despite its current post-Russian invasion situation.
“We will do our best to one day receive Eurovision participants and guests in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt! I am sure that our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off.”
After more than a decade of competition disasters, the UK also did very well, with Sam Ryder coming in second. The UK bid had led the competition after the jury votes, but the people’s vote was decisive in bringing Ukraine to the top of the board.