Eurovision Winners Sold Their $900,000 Trophy To Buy Tactical Drones For Ukraine

Photo: Daniele Franchini

The most popular singing contest in Europe that has most countries of the continent competing against each other came to an end on May 14th in Turin, Italy. This year’s winners of the Eurovision contest were the members of the Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine, who used the stage to talk about the war between their country and Russia, going on since the second week of February. Advocating for peace for some time, they have taken a more radical stance on the need to defend their country.
In the last week of May, they announced that they had sold their trophy, a very valuable item amongst many collectors around the world, which can actually reach almost a million dollars in certain circles. Actually, the band said that a private collector paid 900,000 US dollars to buy their trophy for them in an auction that they let everybody know had the objective of helping their country in the fight.
Actually, all the money that they got from selling the Eurovision trophy went to buy one item that some experts call amongst the most useful in this war: the drone. “Intelligence” allows one army to hit first, but most importantly, strike with more precision. Some say that future wars will be almost exclusively fought with drones, unmanned aerial and land vehicles, as well as remote weaponry. This doesn’t mean that we are close to that kind of warfare at the moment, but that we will eventually be.
In fact, right now, what Ukraine needs the most are conventional weapons, like rocket launchers, long-range artillery pieces, tanks, and ammunition. Since the war in the air is quite lost or really unfair, they are asking not for planes but for drones, a way to “scout ahead” for their troops from a safe distance from the anti-aircraft artillery and radar guided missiles. In fact, most of the ambushes that some TV channels show are filmed by commercial drones used with military intentions.

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A prize for the band and for Ukraine
The Eurovision contest has been taking place on that continent for almost 64 years now, with most of the countries participating in the competition, but also with some exceptions, like Russia, which was expelled from the contest this year due to the invasion of Ukraine. Actually, some point out the victory of Ukraine in the competition as a political message of support to the defending country, as they see a coincidence in the expulsion of Russia and the victory of Ukraine in the same year.
Nevertheless, there’s no point to that discussion other than knowing that every bit of support they can get from external sources could make a difference, or at least mean extending the fighting to inflict serious casualties on the invading army, and maybe come to an agreement. In particular, these days when the Russian offensive has greatly increased both in the ferocity of their artillery strikes, as well as the bombing of their strategic aviation.
That’s why the Kalush Orchestra decided to sell what was the peak of their career, as many people point out, with a good degree of sense, that winning this competition is a great “ticket up” for many relatively unknown bands outside their countries. This sort of blessing is more than a trophy, but an opportunity to show the world what they do, and in particular, that they are willing to even sell one of their most valued possessions to support their country.
According to the news agency Reuters, the band organized a raffle on Facebook where they offered as the first prize the trophy that consists of a crystal microphone, accepting both cryptocurrency as well as regular money. The winner bid around 500 Ethereum coins, which were sold almost immediately to buy what is called a “drone station”, as well as some other commercial regular drones. The advantage of a drone station is that it can command up to three drones at the same time, and its range is way longer than those smaller and more “domestic” drones.

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How did they get into the Eurovision contest?
They got on stage for the great final against some of the most iconic winners of the tournament, like the United Kingdom, Spain, and Sweden. They performed one of their best songs, called Stefania, to end up collecting more than 630 points, almost doubling what other countries got.
It’s not the first time Ukraine won the Eurovision, they also claimed the 2004 and 2016 editions, marking them as one of the best competitors of the modern tournament. In particular with bands like Kalush Orchestra, which from their humble origins used SFX to create their music in a very particular way.
This noble gesture of the band is one of many others gathering around the world to cope with the Russian invasion, which is far from over and seems to be shifting its weight to the invaders. This becomes particularly true as time goes by and Ukraine suffers more and more losses in the front line, and it gets not only harder to replace due to the lack of conscripts, but also because they lack the proper equipment to go to battle.

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