(Reuters) – Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, which won the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this month, raised $900,000 for the country’s military battling the Russian invasion by selling the contest’s trophy.
The group won Eurovision with their entry “Stefania”, surfing a wave of public support to claim an emotional victory that was welcomed by the country’s president.
On Sunday they sold the crystal microphone they were awarded in a Facebook auction led by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula.
The funds raised will be used to purchase for the armed forces the PD-2 unmanned aerial system, which includes three aircraft and a ground control station, Prytula said at the auction.
Russia’s invasion on Ukraine, now in its fourth month, has claimed thousands of civilian lives, sent millions of Ukrainians fleeing and reduced cities to rubble.
Moscow calls its actions a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.
Over the weekend, Ukrainian forces endured heavy artillery barrages as they held off Russian attempts to capture Sievierodonetsk, the largest city Ukraine still controls in the eastern region of Luhansk.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Daniel Wallis)