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Ukraine selects Eurovision 2023 song from bomb shelter

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest now has its first entry after last year’s winner Ukraine selected its act for the competition.

Ukraine’s national selection show took place amid the dark backdrop of Russia’s war on the country, with the Eurovision festivities taking place underground.

Support from the ‘basement’

Musical artists, judges and fans gathered in a subway station that has been converted into a bomb shelter for the show on Saturday evening.

The electropop duo TVORCHI came out on top of the contest with their song “Heart of Steel.”

“We will represent Ukraine in Liverpool,” said group member Andrij Guzuljak in a message on Eurovision’s official Instagram account.

“Can’t wait to see you. We are ready for the challenge. And we are ready to meet the other amazing contestants,” singer Jefferey Kenny said.

According to a Eurovision statement, the two musicians formed TVORCHI in 2018 while studying at the Ternopil National Medical University in western Ukraine. 

Ukraine’s national song selection show was broadcast live and streamed on YouTube, showing a stage set up in the underground station. Many of the performers and audience members were bundled up in warm clothes amid freezing winter temperatures.

A barrage of Russian missiles strikes on Friday hit the Ukrainian capital’s infrastructure, cutting off electricity, water and heat supplies in Kyiv.

“Thank you so much for watching us, for supporting us, it’s really important for our days — from this basement — we are creating new music for Ukraine, our Ukraine,” said 2016 Eurovision song contest winner Jamala.

UK’s Liverpool to host contest

TVORCHI will face off against acts from dozens of other countries in May this year, with Britain hosting.

Ukraine won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, with the group Kalush Orchestra taking home the top prize. The win means Kyiv has broadcasting rights for next year’s final.

As fighting and shelling continues in Ukraine, contest organizers moved to hold the final in Liverpool, England instead due to security reasons.

Russia was banned from participating in this year’s contest due to its invasion of Ukraine in February.

This report was written in part with material from news agency dpa.