After Ukraine’s victory at the Eurovision song contest on Saturday, Russian forces allegedly scrawled twisted quotes on the surface of bombs destined for Mariupol.
As the six-member band performed at the 66th Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy, Oleh Psiuk, the lead singer of Kalush Orchestra, made a passionate on-stage appeal to free Ukrainian troops still trapped at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. He also urged additional aid from the West.
“I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal, right now,” said the band’s frontman Oleh Psiuk.
However, the morning after, images uploaded on Telegram, purportedly by pro-Kremlin and pro-war channel FighterBomber, showed Russian shells with messages ridiculing the band’s request for assistance.
The comments were scribbled on the OFAB 250-270 bombs, which are high-explosive fragmentation aimed at destroying military-industrial infrastructure, armored vehicles, and large groups of combatants. “Just as you asked for, Kalusha!” said the satirical remark, which surfaced on Sunday.
“#Eurovision2022. I heard the call to f*** up Azov. Help Mariupol. Help Mariupol right now.” The photos were posted on Telegram just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to hold Eurovision in Mariupol next year.
Celebrating the country’s third Eurovision victory since its debut in 2003, the Ukrainian president stated that “we will do our best” to one day host the contest in a “free, peaceful, rebuilt” Mariupol. He added, “I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off.”
The song Stefania, which has become a popular war anthem among Ukrainians in recent weeks, won the competition for Kalush Orchestra. In the backdrop of the ongoing war, Oleh Psiuk’s words, “I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed,” are claimed to have taken on a new significance.
The all-male band, which consists of six members, was granted special permission to leave the country to promote Ukrainian culture at the music competition. One of the original members stayed to fight, and the rest intend to return soon.
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won with 631 points, while the United Kingdom came in second with 466 points. Spain came in third with 459 points, while Sweden came in fourth with 438. Britain dominated the jury vote and trailed for most of the night before Ukraine received a whopping 439 points in the public vote.
On the other hand, Germany and France came in the last position in this year’s competition after their leaders were chastised for not being tough enough on Russia’s actions.
Situation Grim In Mariupol
Mariupol has been under almost continual shelling since the invasion began on February 24. As many as 2,000 Ukrainian forces are defending the besieged city’s last stronghold, the Azovstal steel plant.
As per the latest reports, Ukraine has confirmed that hundreds of its fighters stuck in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks have been evacuated. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said 53 critically wounded soldiers were taken to the town of Novoazovsk.
Petr Andryushchenko, an adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, asserted that sources among those who remained at the plant’s ruins believe a vote on the port city’s destiny is in the works. He asserted that Moscow is planning a referendum on whether the city should join Russia.
“We have some information that the Russian authorities are preparing a referendum and could even call it tomorrow, but we don’t know yet if this is the case,” he said on Saturday.
“But we see lots of integration of Mariupol into the Russian system, the education system, the banking system.”
Earlier on Sunday morning, Ukraine blamed Russian forces for launching phosphorus bombs on Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, while the relatives of the fighters besieged within the enormous complex expressed concern that their struggle was coming to an end.
An aerial video shared continues social media on Sunday shows the attack on the facility, where Ukrainian soldiers were fighting back against the Russian onslaught on the severely destroyed port city.
This footage released by an advisor to the Mariupol Mayor appears to show phosphorus bombs dropping on the Azovstal steel plant where a group of Ukrainian fighters continue to hold out. pic.twitter.com/3LphRBktTD
— Laura Bicker (@BBCLBicker) May 15, 2022
‘Sparks’ fall to the ground and ignite, which are a combination of incendiary munitions. The blasts appear to be firecrackers from a distance, but they are a succession of numerous detonations. As the camera zooms out, more munitions bursts are seen exploding over the factory, raining blazing bombs down from above.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations assisted in evacuating residents who were sheltering in the plant earlier this month. Despite the Russian bombing of Azovstal, large civilian convoys continued to depart the city this weekend.