Ukraine are already the firm favourites to take victory at the Eurovision Song Contest in a fortnight’s time with their entry Kalush Orchestra.
Now another Ukrainian band are reaching out musically to Western allies, teaming up with Ed Sheeran on a song.
Antytila, whose members have been fighting as part of the Ukrainian resistance, are releasing a track with the chart-topping singer. The song, which is released on Monday, is a remix of his 2step, with the Ukrainians contributing a new section, detailing the need to hold on to hope during a time of separation from loved ones.
Frontman Taras Topolia told The Times his lyrics were inspired by the distance from his family during the conflict. His wife Alyosha, also a popular Ukrainian singer, left the country on the first day of the Russian invasion, and is now in the US with the couple’s three children.
Topolia, who continues to fight and is working as a paramedic in and around Kharkiv, recorded his vocals on the outskirts of the capital city of Kyiv, where the video was also filmed.
Profits from the video will go to charities supporting Ukrainian refugee children.
The band were invited to take part in the song by the Sheeran’s manager, weeks after the singer-songwriter defeated a lawsuit brought against him for plagiarism in London’s High Court.
Meanwhile, Kalush Orchestra will take to the stage in Turin in a fortnight as frontrunners for Eurovision victory.
The folk-rap band was given special leave by the Ukrainian government to leave the country and go on tour across Europe in preparation for the Contest.
The European Broadcasting Union in February announced its decision to ban Russia from this year’s competition, in light of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.