Not even a prolonged war can stop President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from cheering for Ukraine’s winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.
“Very soon the continent and the whole world will hear our native word in the Eurovision final,” Zelensky said in a short video posted to his social media pages at the start of the competition on Saturday.
“I believe that word at the end is ‘Victory!’ will be,” he added, urging viewers to cast their ballots for Kalush Orchestra, Ukraine’s representative in the 66-year-old’s international competition.
The hybrid folk-rap band are heavily favored to win for “Stefania,” a tribute to frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother.
The long-running musical extravaganza has drawn acts from the countries of the European Broadcast Union in a head-to-head battle of the bands since 1956.
At this year’s show in Turin, Italy, 40 nations competed for the coveted glass microphone.
The competition is known for its over-the-top staging – and for launching the careers of superstars like ABBA and Celine Dion.