While awareness internationally of the ongoing war in Ukraine, following Russia's invasion in early 2022, remains high, there is a concern that it is slipping away in importance within the overall information sphere, leader of reigning Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra, band member Tymofii Muzychuk, says.
Kalush Orchestra, an offshoot of the rap act Kalush, appeared on stage at a concert Tuesday evening, marking Europe Day.
The festivities are usually held in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but this year took place in Vabaduse väljak, where, Kalush Orchestra were joined by the 2001 Eurovision winner from Estonia, Tanel Padar, plus band, and last year's Estonian entrant, Stefan.
Speaking to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Muzychuk said that they have encountered an awareness of Russia's war on Ukraine everywhere they have toured, but at the same time, they have detected a worrying trend for it to recede as an issue into the background somewhat.
Muzychuk said: "It is common knowledge that there is an ongoing war in Ukraine, but unfortunately the matter has now shifted a little into the background, and is not being talked about so much anymore; there is also not so much information about it now."
Kalush Orchestra are trying to redress that matter, by keeping the invasion of their home country front and center, when touring internationally.
"This war, at the heart of Europe, is horrifying, and must end, as a matter of urgency," Muzychuk continued.
Speaking ahead of the concert and day's events, Jonatan Vseviov, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary General, said all three acts have helped to uphold European values.
Kalush Orchestra performed both in Ukrainian and in English.
Muzychuk also told "Ringvaade" how, while it seemed an irrelevance in the wake of Russia's invasion from February 24 last year, getting on the Eurovision trail and eventually winning the event had in fact helped with the war effort.
Kalush Orchestra, as distinct from Kalush, had only been in existence for a couple of years at that point in time, Muzychuk, who was added to the original Kalush lineup with the creation of the project, added.
"When we came together and started creating music and the songwriting process, it became apparent that this song might fit to Eurovision; we could try," he added, speaking about the winning entry "Stefania," also the first Eurovision winner to include rapping.
"We are glad that Europeans liked this story, written as it was in Ukrainian," he went on.
A major tour through to year-end followed hot on the heels of last May's win, and by the end of 2022, around 60 million Ukrainian hryvnia (a little under €1.5 million) had been amassed, in order to help Ukraine in its plight.
"After New Year's Eve, we already started a new tour with new songs and costumes," Muzychuk added – the latter an integral part of the act (see gallery above).
Ukraine has won Eurovision three times in the 20 years since it first took part in the finals. Each victory has been associated with tumultuous events in that country, with songs whose themes departed from the traditional "ding-ding-a-dong"-type Western European fare of yore. In addition to 2022's victory, Ukraine won in 2004, the year the Orange Revolution began, while the 2016 winning entry focused on the deportation of Crimean Tatars during the Stalinist era.
This year's Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final is being held in Liverpool, England, since Great Britain was runner-up last year. The first semi-final took place Tuesday evening, while the second heat, in which Estonia's entry this year, Alika, is taking part, happens Thursday evening, followed by the final on Saturday.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Maiken Tiits