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Ukraine came third in Eurovision with the religious song of hope Teresa & Maria – at the same time Kharkiv was bombed by the Russians


Ukraine secured third place in the Eurovision final last night with a song about hope, unity and resilience as Russian forces pounded the eastern Kharkiv region, forcing thousands of people from their homes.

Singers Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil defiantly performed their religious-themed ballad Teresa & Maria in front of graphics that appeared to show a hail of glowing bullets raining down above them.

Their strong performance earned them 146 points from the jury and a further 307 points from the public vote, placing them in third place behind Switzerland and Croatia.

The artists dedicated a powerful performance to strong women who persevere in the face of adversity – while their fellow Ukrainians faced a weekend of horror at home.

More than two years after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine, a renewed ground offensive targeting towns and villages in the country’s northeast has seen a barrage of artillery and mortar fire, with the onslaught showing no signs of abating.

Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil defiantly performed their song in front of graphics that seemed to show a hail of glowing bullets raining down above them.

The artists dedicated a powerful performance to strong women who persevere in the face of adversity

The artists dedicated a powerful performance to strong women who persevere in the face of adversity

Rescuers tackle a fire at the site of a Russian missile strike on the city's private residential buildings on May 10, 2024

Rescuers tackle a fire at the site of a Russian missile strike on the city’s private residential buildings on May 10, 2024

Although the song is named after Mother Teresa and the Virgin Mary, the singers say it is not religious, but symbolizes hope and faith in oneself and others.

The performers explained the meaning of the song before the performance, saying: “Teresa & Maria is about the strength, courage and resilience of Ukrainian women.

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“That song is dedicated to them. It is about them, their pains and hopes, their dreams and big hearts.”

«We are talking about the importance of unity,» the artists told Ukrainian outlet Rubryka.

«Even though we as Ukrainian women wrote this song about Ukraine, everyone in the world can see themselves in the lyrics.»

Since its first entry in 2003, Ukraine has participated in Eurovision 18 times, becoming the first country outside the «Big Five» (France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and Italy) to qualify for the final each time.

Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil, whose real names are Aliona Savranenko and Yana Shemaieva, are popular artists in the country who regularly collaborate with each other.

Ukraine has won Eurovision three times, including in 2022, the same year Russia launched an illegal invasion.

Although the song is named after Mother Teresa and the Virgin Mary, the singers say it is not religious, but symbolizes hope and faith in oneself and others.

Although the song is named after Mother Teresa and the Virgin Mary, the singers say it is not religious, but symbolizes hope and faith in oneself and others.

Ukraine performed in the 2024 song contest last night as Russia stepped up its attacks on the Kharkiv region.

After a large-scale offensive began on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a late-night speech on Saturday that fighting was continuing in seven border villages.

«Our defense operations continue in the Kharkiv region,» he said, adding that the situation in Donetsk «remains particularly tense.»

Russia announced today that it has taken over four more villages in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region after its defense ministry said earlier that five villages had already been occupied by troops.

Firefighters finish putting out a fire at the site of a Russian missile strike in the private residential area of ​​the city on May 10, 2024 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Firefighters finish putting out a fire at the site of a Russian missile strike in the private residential area of ​​the city on May 10, 2024 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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Residents of Vovchansk district, which is constantly shelled by Russian troops, stay with their belongings during evacuation, Kharkiv region

Residents of Vovchansk district, which is constantly shelled by Russian troops, stay with their belongings during evacuation, Kharkiv region

The ministry said its forces had «advanced deep into enemy defenses» and occupied villages including Gatišče, Krasnoye, Morochovets and Oleinikovo.

But the Ukrainian army said that it is succeeding in holding back further Russian advances.

Oleksiy Kharkovsky, a senior police officer from Vovchansk who is helping to coordinate evacuations, said «several people» were killed in shelling on Saturday and one person was found dead in the rubble overnight.

Kharkovsky estimated that about 1,500 people had been evacuated or fled Vovchansk since Friday, and that 32 drones had attacked the city in the past 24 hours.

He said the evacuation teams had come under fire «many times».

And more than 4,000 people were evacuated across Kharkiv in total after Russia bombed the border city.



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