Ukrainian Eurovision act's hometown bombed during final performance

14 May 2023 02:35pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
Image for illustrative purposes only. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

LIVERPOOL, UK - As Ukraine's Eurovision act Tvorchi delivered a thumping bass under strobing yellow and blue lights in Liverpool on Saturday night, air raid sirens back in their hometown Ternopil were signalling the latest Russian assault.

Moments after the electronic duo finished performing, they posted on Instagram that Ternopil was under attack.

"Our hometown...was bombed by Russia while we sang on the Eurovision stage about our steel hearts, indomitability and will," Tvorchi posted, dedicating their performance to "all cities of Ukraine that are shelled every day."

"Europe, unite against evil for the sake of peace!"

The duo's song, "Heart of Steel", was inspired by Ukrainian attempts to resist a months-long siege at the Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol.

At one point during the show, the black sunglass-wearing musicians held up a handwritten sign saying "Ternopil" while a group around them waved Ukraine's blue and yellow flags.

The head of Ternopil's regional military administration Volodymyr Trush said early Sunday morning that two people were injured in the strike, which sparked fires at warehouses owned by commercial and religious groups.

"Two civilians were injured. Preliminary, shrapnel wounds and burns. The victims are in hospitals," Trush posted on Telegram.

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Firefighters were still battling the blaze at the time of his post and he said that "specialists will be at the scene all night."

Tvorchi - composed of 27-year-old producer Andriy Hutsuliak and 25-year-old vocalist Jimoh Augustus Kehinde - is no stranger to Russian fire.

At the end of April, hours after a massive shelling, air raid sirens forced them to take shelter in a cellar when they were due to perform in Kyiv's main rail station.

After the alert, the group surprised passengers with an impromptu performance in the entrance hall of the vast Stalin-era station.

On Saturday, Sweden won the campy Eurovision Song Contest, succeeding Ukraine's Kalush Orchaestra, which was victorious last year with a "Stefania", a song mixing hip-hop and local folk music.

Because of the Russian invasion, Ukraine was unable to organise the 67th edition of the contest and the Beatles' hometown Liverpool hosted instead. - AFP