Ukraine’s Eurovision commentator will broadcast live from a bomb shelter – as the war torn nation’s entry is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the contest.
Timur Miroshnychenko, the Ukrainian Graham Norton, will broadcast from a dank Kyiv bomb shelter to prevent Russian artillery from interrupting his broadcast during tonight’s final in Turin, Italy.
The gloomy shelter features a single light bulb, peeled plaster and exposed brick alongside a mass of unorganised wires.
The gloomy shelter features a single light bulb and exposed brick alongside a mass of unorganised wires
Timur Miroshnychenko, Ukraine’s answer to Graham Norton, will broadcast from the dank Kyiv bomb shelter to prevent Russian artillery from interrupting his broadcast
Mr Miroshnychenko, 36, told the Telegraph: ‘We have to be underground because… you never know.
‘You don’t have a schedule of air raid alerts when Russia decides to launch their missiles… we have to be underground not to interrupt the broadcasts.’
Timur Miroshnychenko co-hosted the song contest final in 2017 in Kyiv after Ukraine’s victory in the 2016 competition.
He has either hosted or commentated on every Eurovision for Ukraine since 2007, a record that is all the more impressive considering this year’s circumstances.
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Mr Miroshnychenko helped his countrymen by driving a truck delivering aid and transporting refugees out of conflict zones.
He returned to Kyiv after Russian forces were repelled from western Ukraine and will take up the mantle of host for Ukrainian television – delivering the broadcast to the nation under curfew.
The scenes in the shelter are a far cry from the glitz of the Eurovision stage in Turin
Mr Miroshnychenko will be hoping that Ukraine’s entry Kalush Orchestra will take the top prize this evening – with bookies backing them to do so.
The song ‘Stefania’ is an ode to the mothers of Ukraine doing all they can to protect children during the conflict.
It is expected to sweep the public vote amid widespread sympathy the victims of the Ukraine war.
Ukraine has form with politically-charged Eurovision songs with their 2016 entry ‘1944’ regarding the oppression of Crimea by the Soviet Union.
The entry was during the Second World War an indirect rebuke to Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and took home the coveted glass microphone.
Bookmaker Bet365 has Ukraine as red-hot favourite to repeat their 2016 success and win Eurovision at 1/4 with the UK’s entry Sam Ryder some way back as second favourite at 6/1.
Mr Miroshnychenko told The Telegraph he will be voting for the UK’s Sam Ryder and expects many Ukrainians to follow suit.
Bookmaker Bet365 has Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra as red-hot favourite to win Eurovision at 1/4
Kalush Orchestra’s Stefani is an ode to the mothers of Ukraine and their actions since Russia invaded – told through the lens of singer Oleh Psiuk’s mother
Eurovision televoting rules mean that Ukrainians are not permitted to vote for themselves.
‘All Ukrainians in Poland are going to vote for Polish artists just to send their love and for support from Poland.
‘And if we are talking about Ukrainian votes in Europe, of course, Poland and the United Kingdom will receive, I think, the most from the Ukrainian audience’, he said.
He added: ‘Just a big, big, big, big kiss and hug from all the Ukrainians, because it’s really very important for us.
Ukraine is expected to sweep the public vote amid widespread sympathy the victims of the Russia’s invasion
‘We now see our real friends, our real brothers, and it’s not the Russians, definitely. It’s Polish people, British people, American people.’
Eurovision was founded in 1956 as a way to unite the European continent after decades of war.
Mr Miroshnychenko said he thinks this legacy is as relevant today as it was then.
He told the Telegraph: ‘Maybe now is the most important contest in the history of Eurovision.
‘To unite everyone, not only governments of their countries, but mainly the people of those countries.
‘It’s very important.’
Mr Miroshnychenko told The Telegraph he will be voting for the UK’s Sam Ryder and expects many Ukrainians to follow suit
UKRAINE’S EUROVISION ENTRY
Kalush Orchestra’s song is a mix of rap and traditional Ukrainian music sung entirely in the Ukrainian language.
‘Stefania’ is about its singer Oleh Psiuk’s mother and functions as a love letter to the mothers of Ukraine doing all they can to protect their children among the crises, according to the band.
It is only the second time that Ukrainian has been used in a song in Eurovision final history.
It features traditional Ukrainian ‘telenka’, a wooden wind instrument.
The band were called in to represent Eurovision because Alina Pash, the country’s initial choice, was withdrawn over a controversial visit to Russia-controlled Crimea in 2015.
Members of the Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine before appearing at the Eurovision semi-finals