Ukraine's Eurovision Winners Sell Trophy to Support Fight Against Russia

Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band that took home the Eurovision trophy in this year's songwriting competition earlier in May, has auctioned off the crystal microphone to buy drones for their country's army as it fights against Russia's invasion.

The band reported on Facebook that the trophy was sold for $900,000.

"You guys are amazing!" the translated post reads. "We appreciate each and every one of you who donated to this auction and a special thanks to the team Whitebit who purchased the trophy for $900,000 and are now the rightful owners of our trophy."

The band said funds would be provided to the Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation, a charity that helps the Ukrainian Army, and will be used to purchase three drones.

Kalush Orchestra Auctions Eurovision Trophy
The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra on Sunday auctioned off their winning trophy from the Eurovision Song Contest to buy drones for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Above, band members pose onstage with the trophy and Ukraine's flags after winning on May 14 at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy. MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Sunday's online auction was led by Prytula, according to Reuters, who said the drones will be PD-2 unmanned aerial systems.

Kalush Orchestra won the 66th Eurovision Song Contest in the event that took place May 10 to 14 in Turin, Italy. It was the county's third win, according to the organization.

"Kalush Orchestra formed as an offshoot of the rap group Kalush, focused on blending modern hip-hop sounds with the motifs found in the traditional music and art of Ukraine," according to Eurovision.

Band members are Oleh Psiuk, Ihor Didenchuk, MC KylymMen, Tymofii Muzychuk, Vitalii Duzhyk and Sasha Tab.

The group won for their entry Stefania and soon after released a video for the song that was filmed in war-ravaged Ukraine. The song offers a tribute to mothers.

"This is how we see Ukrainian mothers today," Kalush frontman Psiuk told Billboard of the video. "We were trying to deliver the message of what Ukraine looks like today."

In an update on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced he visited Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine on the 95th day of war.

"Kharkiv suffered terrible blows from the occupiers," he said. "Black, burnt-out, half-ruined apartment buildings face east and north with their windows, from where Russian artillery was firing. From where Russian combat aircraft arrived. They face Russia. And in them now, like in a mirror, the Russian state can see itself."

He said Russia lost the battle for Kharkiv and Kyiv and "lost its own future and any cultural ties to the free world."

Zelensky also reported that one-third of the Kharkiv region "is still under occupation."

"We will definitely liberate the entire territory," Zelensky said.

It was the president's first visit outside the Kyiv region since the start of the war, the BBC reported.