Eurovision winner Jamala arrives in Kyiv

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Hundreds of fans with flowers and Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags gathered in the arrivals hall of the Boryspil International Airport on May 15 to meet Crimean Tatar singer Jamala, who brought Ukraine victory at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm on May 14.

The fans sang Jamala’s songs and Ukrainain national anthem and shouted “Glory to Ukraine!” Jamala arrived at 6:35 p.m. on a flight from Stockholm.

“When the results were announced I screamed and started crying!” Iryna Stelevskaya, a fan holding a big bouquet of blue and yellow flowers, shouted to her friend as they were waiting for Jamala’s arrivial in the airport. “It was so dramatic! Jamala is our national treasure.”

Jamala became Ukraine’s hero after she won the first place in the Eurovision Song Contest with a song about the deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet regime, “1944.”

Refat Chubarov, Crimean Tatar politician and the head of Mejilis, a Crimean Tatar representative body that was recently banned in Crimea, also came to congratulate Jamala. Chubarov told the Kyiv Post that the singer’s victory had brought hope to Tatars in Crimea who are being oppressed by the Russian authorities installed after the peninsula’s annexation in 2014.

“My friends from Crimea told me that many villages haven’t slept all night. They were singing and shooting fireworks,” said Chubarov.

Crimean native Natalia Stivenko came to the airport with her husband. Both are from the Crimean city Sevastopol. They moved to Kyiv in December 2015, escaping the Russian occupation. They still travel to Sevastopol often to take care about Stivko’s mother-in-law.

“We just returned from Sevastopol and came here not only to congratulate our Jamala, but also to show that not only Crimean Tatars want Crimea to be back under Ukraine’s control,” said Stivenko. “There are many Ukrainians living there who also suffer from the sorrow of losing their Motherland.”

When Jamala finally entered the hall, the fans went crazy, screaming her name and shouting blessings.

A dozen of police officers had to stand around Jamala to protect her from the hundreds of fans who wanted to touch or kiss the performer.

Jamala looked tired and happy. The singer was wearing a vyshyvanka dress by Ukrainian designer Vita Kin. She cried and said that she was grateful for such a warm greeting.

By rules of Eurovision, the next contest takes place in the country of a winner. Six Ukrainian cities had already expressed their wish to host the Eurovision in 2017: Odesa, Kyiv, Lviv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk and even Irpyn, a small town near Kyiv.

Minister of Culture Yevhen Nyshchuk told Ukrainian media that his top choice of a venue for the next Eurovision contest is Olympiysky Stadium in Kyiv.

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