Jamala, the singer who won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest for Ukraine, has been forced to flee her country because of Russia’s invasion.

Since 24 February, the day military action began, the United Nations refugee agency confirmed that at least 500,000 refugees have fled the country.

It is believed to be the most extreme week of human flight within the European continent since at least the Balkan wars, which took place in the 1990s.

Among those is Jamala, the artist who took her country to Eurovision victory just six years ago with her song 1944.

The 38-year-old posted about her choice to leave on 28 February in a lengthy message written in Russian.

She confirmed that she and her family spent almost four days in the car driving to Istanbul, Turkey, where she is now.

Jamala told Kan News that her decision to depart was made when “explosions were heard near to my house.”

“We decided to go with my children to Western Ukraine — to Ternopil, and maybe Lviv,| she continued. “There we spent a night in a village [with] some people. We thought about staying there and waiting for some time [to see if] the situation clears up.”

Rumours of Russia having a “list” with potential targets on it also played a big part in Jamala deciding to flee, she stated.

The country was recently banned from this year’s Eurovision over its invasion of Ukraine, which the former winner said was the “right decision.”

She added: “In this case, Eurovision is a big significant international contest. It will definitely be meaning something to them. I thank Eurovision for this decision.”

For more information on how you can help LGBTQ+ Ukrainians, click here.


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