Members of the band Kalush Orchestra pose onstage with the winner's trophy as Ukraine wins Eurovision (Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO via Getty Images)
Ukraine has won the Eurovision Song Contest with folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra’s song Stefania.
The act have been the frontrunners since Putin’s invasion earlier this year, with organisers also banning Russia from competing.
Ukraine joined the contest in 2003 and its three wins make it one of the most successful of the newer competitor countries, having also triumphed in 2004 and 2016.
The United Kingdom had led the vote for most of Saturday night’s results after Sam Ryder’s performance of Space Man came out on top of the jury vote.
However, the public overwhelmingly backed Ukraine, finishing with 631 points on the leaderboard, with the UK landing in second place with 466 points.
It was the UK’s best performance in the Song Content in more than 20 years, and proved to be a remarkable reversal of fortunes following last year’s dreaded nul points.
After their win, Kalush Orchestra said: “Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini.”
During their performance, which combined rap and Ukrainian folklore, the group were dressed in elaborate outfits, including long multi-coloured fringed ensembles.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said: “Our courage impresses the world our music conquers Europe!
“Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I believe – not for the last time.
“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt.”
He added: “Thank you for the victory of @Kalush.official and all those who gave their votes for us!
“I am sure that our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is just around the corner.
“Glory to Ukraine!”
UK prime minister Boris Johnson called Ukraine’s win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.
He also extended congratulations to the UK’s runner-up in the competition, tweeting: “Incredibly proud of @SamRyderMusic and how he brilliantly represented the UK tonight.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.