Oleh Psiuk, second from right, frontman of Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra, winners of the Eurovision Song Contest, and his band pose with the trophy. The group returned to their homeland on Monday after an emotional Eurovision Song Contest victory
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Ukraine’s Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra return to a heroes’ welcome as they are mobbed by fans in Lviv… and then break into an impromptu version of their victorious song

  • Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra was feted on returning home after Eurovision win
  • A crowd of fans mobbed the group in the Lviv region upon their return home
  • The group broke out into an impromptu rendition of winning song ‘Stefania’
  • Ukrainian troops watched on television and president Zelensky hailed the win

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra returned to their homeland on Monday after an emotional Eurovision Song Contest victory, greeted at the border with Poland by servicemen and women whose cause the band had championed in Turin.

Frontman Oleh Psiuk was presented with a bouquet of yellow and blue flowers – the colours of Ukraine’s flag – and reunited with his girlfriend before he and his band launched into an impromptu version of ‘Stefania’, their winning song.

On Saturday, they had ridden a wave of popular support to win the annual songfest in the northern Italian city, giving their compatriots a much-needed morale boost after almost 12 weeks of war.

Ukrainian troops watching on television had hailed the win, with Psiuk making a plea for help at the end of the live performance for the besieged city of Mariupol and its Azovstal steelworks.

Oleh Psiuk, second from right, frontman of Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra, winners of the Eurovision Song Contest, and his band pose with the trophy. The group returned to their homeland on Monday after an emotional Eurovision Song Contest victory

Oleh Psiuk, second from right, frontman of Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, winners of the Eurovision Song Contest, and his band pose with the trophy. The group returned to their homeland on Monday after an emotional Eurovision Song Contest victory

The group poses with the EUrovision trophy. Bookmakers had made Kalush Orchestra clear favourites among the 40 competitors in the annual contest, which normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million

The group poses with the EUrovision trophy. Bookmakers had made Kalush Orchestra clear favourites among the 40 competitors in the annual contest, which normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million

President Volodymyr Zelensky was quick to offer congratulations on Saturday after the band took the most votes in the song contest

President Volodymyr Zelensky was quick to offer congratulations on Saturday after the band took the most votes in the song contest

President Volodymyr Zelensky was quick to offer congratulations on Saturday, and residents of the town that bears the band’s name – about three hours by car southeast of the settlement of Krakovets, where they crossed back into Ukraine – were overjoyed.

‘I love my Kalush. My wife and I have been watching until 1 am. And we were happy to win. I was jumping. I was in seventh heaven,’ said one, 74-year-old Petro Yugan, on Sunday.

‘But I also want us to end the war as fast as possible, and it would be an even bigger victory.’

Bookmakers had made Kalush Orchestra clear favourites among the 40 competitors in the annual contest, which normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million, in part due to widespread sympathy for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February.

‘Stefania’ – a tribute sung in Ukrainian to Psiuk’s mother that fuses rap with traditional folk music – was lying fourth after national juries voted, but stormed into top spot thanks to a record score during the second stage of voting by viewers.

The band performed 'Stefania' at Eurovision, a tribute sung in Ukrainian to Psiuk's mother that fuses rap with traditional folk music

The band performed ‘Stefania’ at Eurovision, a tribute sung in Ukrainian to Psiuk’s mother that fuses rap with traditional folk music

Upon arriving back home, the group performed an impromptu version of the song for the crowd on the Polish border

Upon arriving back home, the group performed an impromptu version of the song for the crowd on the Polish border

The song stormed into top spot thanks to a record score during the second stage of voting

The song stormed into top spot thanks to a record score during the second stage of voting

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