Hometown of Ukraine’s Eurovision Song Contest act attacked during performance

Russian missiles slammed into the hometown of Ukrainian electro-pop duo Tvorchi as they performed at the Eurovision Song Contest, officials in Kyiv said on Saturday.

After the pair took the stage in the northern English city of Liverpool, Ternopil, a small town in western Ukraine, was hit, said Andriy Yermak, the president’s chief of staff Voldymyr Zelenskyy, in a Telegram article.

“It happened just as the Ukrainian band Tvorchi from Ternopil was performing in the Eurovision final,” he said, adding that two people were injured.

Ukraine’s state emergency service said two people were injured in the “missile attack”, in a separate post on its Telegram channel. He said preliminary information suggested the couple suffered “shrapnel wounds and burns”.

According to the post, “fragments of a cruise missile hit warehouses, causing a fire.”

In a later statement, the Ukrainian Air Force said on Sunday that three cruise missiles and 25 unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed in the attack.

NBC News could not independently verify these claims.

Following their performance at the event in Liverpool, which stepped in to host the event after organizers decided Kyiv was not safe enough, Tvorchi addressed the attack in a post on their Instagram channel.

“Ternopil is the name of our hometown, which was bombed by Russia as we sang on the Eurovision stage our hearts of steel, our indomitable and our will,” they wrote, adding that the message was dedicated to “all the cities of Ukraine bombed every day.

The sights and sounds of Ukraine ran throughout the show, starting with an opening film that showed Eurovision 2022 winners Kalush Orchestra singing and dancing in the Kyiv metro, with the tune taken over by musicians in the UK – including Catherine, Princess of Wales, who was shown playing the piano.

Tvorchi ultimately placed sixth in the competition, which was won by Swedish singer Loreen who performed her song “Tattoo”. She became the first singer to win the contest twice.

The Russian Defense Ministry later confirmed that it had attacked Ternopil in a statement posted on its Telegram channel on Sunday, which said it “launched a strike with high-precision long-range air and sea weapons.” He added that he had targeted places storing “ammunition, weapons and military equipment received from Western countries”.

The attack came after Zelenskyy traveled to Rome, where he met Pope Francis and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Then, on Sunday, he traveled to Berlin for a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

There he thanked Germany for its announcement on Saturday that it would provide Ukraine with military aid, including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition, worth nearly $3 billion.

“You can count on Germany,” he wrote on Twitter. “Together, we bring peace closer!”

In Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces had made “massive attempts” to break through its defenses in the key eastern town of Bakhmut in the past 24 hours as pressure on its troops continued. to disassemble.

He said Ukraine launched attacks north and south of the city, but failed to break through the Russian defences. “All attacks by Ukrainian Armed Forces units have been repelled,” he said.

NBC News could not verify this claim.

It raised new doubts about the Kremlin’s hopes of winning a symbolic victory in the city and stoked wider fears among Russian observers about the army’s positions on the war’s front lines.

For months, Russia has anticipated the coming of a spring Ukrainian counter-offensive that is expected to target occupied lands across the country. Moscow’s own winter offensive ended in public fighting as it suffered heavy battlefield casualties, with more than 100,000 Kremlin forces fighters killed or wounded since December alone, according to US estimates. .

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