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AP captures a dramatic Eurovision — and an emotional sendoff

Oleh Psiuk, frontman of Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, kisses girlfriend Oleksandra outside the band’s hotel in Turin, May 15, 2022, the morning after Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest. Band members were returning to war-ravaged Ukraine while family members and loved ones stayed behind in Italy. (AP Photo / Luca Bruno)

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The team of Milan photographer Luca Bruno, Milan correspondent Colleen Barry and Rome video journalist Paolo Santalucia capped AP’s spotless coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin with an exclusive the day after the contest as the winning band, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, bid a tearful goodbye to Italy, returning to Ukraine to fight for their homeland.

With contributions by reporters in Ukraine, the AP team delivered outstanding Eurovision coverage from Day One, including an all-formats interview with the band ahead of the competition,a setup story by Barry, and Bruno’s coverage of the band’s surprise visit to a Turin flash mob event three days before the contest finals.

But it was the exclusive day-after coverage that truly set AP apart from the competition. Using his local contacts,Bruno had found the modest guesthouse where the band was staying. He and Santalucia arrived at the hotel to find Kalush Orchestra with the Eurovision trophy in one hand, his luggage in the other. The AP pair captured Psiuk kissing his girlfriend goodbye and vocalist Sasha Tab in an emotional embrace with his wife Yuliia and two children,who fled Ukraine a month ago and are living with an Italian host family as band members return to Ukraine, where adult men under 60 are required to stay and fight the enemy.

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