The sale of the Eurovision trophy, won by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, has raised $900,000 (£712,000) – all the proceeds of which will be given to the country’s military in their war against Russia.
The funds are set to be used for buying three PD-2 drones, after the crystal microphone was sold via an auction hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula.
Kalush Orchestra won the prize two weeks ago with their song ‘Stefania’, after a huge show of public support saw them leapfrog many countries, including the UK’s Sam Ryder, who finished second.
The buyers were reportedly a company called WhiteBit, European cryptocurrency exchange that claims to have more than two million users.
The auction, which was carried out on Facebook, accepted both traditional currencies and cryptocurrencies, with WhiteBit paying 500 Ethereums (equivalent to $900,000 or £712,000).
Additionally, Kalush Orchestra’s lead singer Oleh Psiuk put his signature pink bucket hat up for sale, which raised a further estimated $370,000 (£293,000) for the Ukrainian military. More than 31,000 people from 56 countries took part.
Kalush Orchestra have continued to use their platform as Eurovision winners to raise funds and support for their country’s military. The sale of their trophy had coincided with a charity concert in Berlin they were taking part in.
Following their win two weeks ago, the group also released a music video for their song, filmed in the Ukrainian cities of Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka and Hostomel.
Set against the backdrop of war, it’s a stark reminder of the conflict that, according to the UN, has killed 4,031 civilians dead, injured 4,735 and displaced more than 14 million since Russia invaded on 24th February.
Despite this, a defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Mariupol – a city which is currently almost entirely held by Russian military.