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UKRAINE

Danes donate ‘record’ amounts to help Ukraine

Danish relief organisations have raised 750 million Danish kroner for humanitarian aid to Ukraine so far, with more donations coming in from a fundraising concert on Saturday night.

People waving Ukrainian flags at a support concert for Ukraine at Rådhuspladsen on Saturday 12 March 2022.
TV 2 and DR's support concert for Ukraine at Rådhuspladsen on Saturday 12 March 2022. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The Red Cross in Denmark says it has collected 350 million kroner in 14 days.

“We have never in the Red Cross collected such a large amount under any collections. It is historical, and I dare say it is a Danish record. It is absolutely overwhelming and unparalleled”, Red Cross fundraising manager Morten Jørgensen told TV 2 Lorry. 

On Saturday night, a special support concert called ‘Sammen for Ukraine’ (Together for Ukraine) was held at Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen and aired on DR and TV2.

Crowds of people at Copenhagen's Rådhuspladsen for a support concert for Ukraine, 12 March 2022.

“Together for Ukraine” – concert at Copenhagen’s Rådhuspladsen on Saturday 12 March 2022. TV 2 and DR joined forces for the support concert to help the people of Ukraine. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Queen Margrethe, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess joined forces to donate one million kroner to the concert fundraiser, which saw 17 musicians perform.

The money donated by the royal family comes from the Queen Margrethe’s and Prince Henrik’s Foundation and Crown Prince Frederik’s and Crown Princess Mary’s Foundation.

“There is war in Europe again. It makes me infinitely sad to witness what is happening now in Ukraine.

The progress and the hope that flourished throughout Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall is now crumbling in front of our eyes”, Queen Margrethe said in a press release issue by the Royal Household.

“May this senseless war be brought to an end as soon as possible”, Queen Margrethe added.

So far the concert has raised over 165 million kroner, which is in addition to 750 million kroner already raised from Danish relief organisations. The money from the concert will be distributed among 18 relief organisations to help the victims of war in Ukraine.

Singer Mads Langer during the "Together for Ukraine" -concert at Rådhuspladsen on Saturday 12 March 2022.

Singer Mads Langer during the “Together for Ukraine” -concert at Rådhuspladsen on Saturday 12 March 2022. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Since the war started in Ukraine on the 24th February, 1,085 Ukrainians have sought asylum in Denmark, according to the Danish Immigration Service. That figure was recorded up to the 10th March and is expected to rise.

The Danish Immigration Service has opened three new asylum centres to receive the many refugees in the Aabenraa, Tønder and Langeland municipalities.

The Danish Refugee Council told news agency Ritzau that it estimates there are up to 12 million people in Ukraine who need emergency aid, on top of the 2.5 million who have fled Ukraine since the war began.

READ MORE: How can people in Denmark help Ukraine?

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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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