Ukraine has announced it will be taking part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. However, Kalush Orchestra will not be attending the ceremony in person and instead will record their performance in a safe place which will be sent to the event’s organisers. The announcement comes two weeks after Russia was booted out of the contest following its violent invasion of Ukraine.
Oleh Psiuk, leader of Kalush Orchestra, released a statement on the Eurovision Song Contest’s Instagram page where he addressed the decision to pre-record the performance.
It read: “Eurovision is very important to us but the life of our family and friends is even more important. So now we are doing everything possible to help our country.”
He revealed one band member is currently fighting in the territorial defence in the city of Kyiv.
“I have established a volunteer organisation. We are helping people to find accommodation, move, find medicine,” he added.
READ MORE: The Repair Shop cancelled: Jay Blades series replaced on BBC one
“Our country has united to the maximum. All my friends and people I know keep helping one another, and we are all fighting as one cohesive mechanism.”
The musician urged the public to help his nation and “speak up” about the conflict with Russia.
“Earlier, it seemed to be so far away from me on TV when I watched war films, but actually it’s not,” Oleh exclaimed.
“When you wake up to explosions and you do not know if your girlfriend is still alive, you understand that it’s all very close and it should not be happening in 2022.”
“Please help us close the sky, whoever can influence this. If the person who can influence this hears me, please do it. Let’s make the world peaceful in 2022.”
A host of organisations, as well as governments across the globe, are sanctioning the Putin regime as the conflict continues.
The Eurovision website is currently giving Ukraine a 35 per cent chance of winning the contest ahead of the previous favourites Italy.
The contest’s social media page said: “Despite the fighting, the KALUSH Orchestra will record their performance in a safe place, which will be sent to the organizers of the song contest, and in case of our victory over the occupiers by May, our delegation will go to Italy and sing live all over Europe!”
The UK will also be entering the contest this year with TikTok star Sam Ryder representing the nation.