Ever since Russia launched its so-called ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, ordinary Ukrainians from all walks of life have come together to aid the war-fighting effort. This time, a popular Ukrainian band stole the show as it entered the war against Russia with its ‘trophy’ being its weapon of choice.
The trophy won by Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band that won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was auctioned for $900,000 to donate funds to the war in Ukraine by the iconic band that rose to fame by winning the contest earlier this month.
The crystal microphone trophy was auctioned on Facebook in order to raise funds for Ukraine’s military to purchase drones. The auction sale coincided with the band’s participation in a charity concert at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.
The objective of the auction was to raise funds for medical treatment and supplies, apart from purchasing drones for the military.
The winning bid for the trophy came in the amount of 500 Ethereum and was credited with Whitebit, a cryptocurrency exchange.
The band wrote in a Facebook post: “You guys are amazing. 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.”
Serhiy Prytula, a Ukrainian TV broadcaster, presented the auction to the audience and bidders. The money is believed to be credited to his philanthropic foundation, which raises funds for the Ukrainian army’s fight against Russian invaders.
Bitcoin and regular cash were both accepted as bids. The hat raffle was also on sale and secured 31,088 entries, according to Prytula, with the winning bid coming from the Czech Republic.
🎤 @Eurovision-2022 Crystal microphone sold for $ 900,000!
Kalush Orchestra sold the 2022 #Eurovision Crystal Trophy for $900,000 at a charity auction.
The funds raised will be used to purchase a PD-2 drone complex for the Ukrainian army.
— Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – Ukrainian Parliament (@ua_parliament) May 30, 2022
Only weeks before Eurovision, the Kalush Orchestra, which was fighting as part of the Ukrainian resistance, garnered widespread praise for their performance. The band had performed the song ‘Stefania,’ which was awarded the winning trophy in Turin earlier this month.
The band’s auction money will allow the Ukrainian military to buy drones, whose success has been widely recorded on the battlefield against Russia. According to Mr. Prytula, the funds would be used to purchase the PD-2 drone system for the Ukrainian armed forces, which includes three aircraft and a ground control center.
This auction also comes alongside a noble effort by the people of Lithuania, who crowdfunded a whopping $5.4 million in just three days for Ukraine’s military to buy Turkish TB2 Bayraktar armed drones to target the Russian troops.
Hundreds of Lithuanians donated to the campaign as a show of solidarity with a country that Moscow formerly ruled.
Earlier, the Czech government had also started a similar crow funding effort and raised about $29.6 million in a single month and paid for more than the $18.3 million worth of equipment made available for purchase, with the donated funds by the Czech Ministry of Defense.
Ukraine’s people as saviors
EurAsian Times reported that Ukrainians were celebrating the Su-34s’ destruction in unusual ways. One of the organizations known as ‘Drones for Ukraine Foundation’ active in aiding Ukraine’s war effort gathered parts from downed fighters and started to sell them online for $1,000.
The funds received were to be used to support the Ukrainian military. On a dedicated webpage, people were asked to donate and receive a piece of the Su-34 wreckage in return. A blue key chain labeled as an “original piece of Su-34 aircraft skin” was given as a souvenir.
According to one volunteer, as of mid-May, the organization had raised $30,000 for the charity.
Made in Russia, RECYCLED IN UKRAINE😄
Debris of a russian Su-34, recycled to a historic souvenir 🤗🇺🇦🤗 All the funds of the sale will go to Drones for Ukraine.#StandWithUkraine️ pic.twitter.com/h10tAUIdcJ
— U24 (@u24_news) April 30, 2022
In April, tired of waiting for a fighter jet to arrive from a NATO country, Ukrainians started the #buymeafighterjet campaign to crowdfund the restocking of the nation’s fighter force.
— IgorGirkin (@GirkinGirkin) May 1, 2022
On April 14, a video of a Ukrainian pilot wearing a helmet with the visor down began circulating on the internet. The video opened with the pilot walking in front of a MiG-29 that appears to be damaged, following which he asks the viewers for donations so that Ukraine might get operable fighter jets.
The appeal worked wonders, and a Pakistan-origin billionaire married to a Ukrainian woman reportedly bought two warplanes for the Ukrainian Air Force.
While it is true that the military-industry complex of western countries has benefitted tremendously owing to generous aid packages announced by their governments, it is the story of auctions and fund-raisers that would probably be remembered for generations in Ukraine.