Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra wins 66th Eurovision Song Contest

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra were crowned winners at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin in the early hours of Sunday, snagging 439 points from the public votes.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” frontman Oleh Psiuk said in the group's first news conference after the win.

Kalush Orchestra were in fourth place following the jury votes, but stormed to the top of the leaderboard after the public votes were announced.

At the end of their performance, Psiuk said to the audience in English, “I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol, help Azovstal right now.”

Their entry 'Stefania,' sung in Ukrainian, fuses rap with traditional folk music and was written as a tribute to Psiuk's mother. After the outbreak of the war, the song acquired a suggestive, symbolic meaning as it was dedicated to all Ukrainian mothers.

The band takes its name from the Western Ukrainian city of Kalush. It finished second in the country's national song contest but replaced winner Alina Pash after controversy over a visit she made to Crimea in 2015, a year after it was annexed by Russia.

All-male, they were given special dispensation to leave to take part in the competition and are set to return as soon as Saturday's final is over. Psiuk said one of the band is still fighting near Kyiv and has been replaced for the contest.

It is the third time that Ukraine has won the annual competition.