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Home city of Ukraine's Eurovision Song Contest act attacked during performance

After Tvorchi took to the stage in Liverpool, England, Russian missiles rained on Ternopil and Ukrainian officials said.
Ukraine's Tvorch performs Saturday night at the Eurovision finals in Liverpool, England.Oli Scarff / AFP - Getty Images

Russian missiles rained down on the home city of Ukrainian electro-pop duo Tvorchi as they performed at Eurovision Song Contest, officials in Kyiv said late Saturday.

After the pair took to the stage in the city of Liverpool in northern England, Ternopil, a small city in western Ukraine, was hit, Andriy Yermak, President Voldymyr Zelenskyy's chief of staff, said in a Telegram post.

“It happened just when the Ukrainian band Tvorchi from Ternopil was performing in the Eurovision final,” he said, adding that two people had been injured.

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said two people had been injured in the “missile attack,” in a separate post on its Telegram channel. It said that preliminary information suggested the pair had suffered “shrapnel injuries and burns.”

According to the post, “fragments of a cruise missile hit warehouses, which led to a fire.”  

In a later statement, Ukraine's air force said Sunday that three cruise missiles and 25 unmanned aerial vehicles had been destroyed during the attack. 

NBC News could not independently verify these claims.

After their performance at the event in Liverpool, which stepped in to host the event after organizers decided Kyiv was not safe enough, Tvorchi addressed the attack in a post on their Instagram channel.

“Ternopil is the name of our hometown, which was bombed by Russia while we sang on the Eurovision stage about our steel hearts, indomitability and will,” they wrote, adding that the post was dedicated to “all cities of Ukraine that are shelled every day.

The sights and sounds of Ukraine ran throughout the show, starting with an opening film that showed 2022 Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra singing and dancing in the Kyiv subway, with the tune picked up by musicians in the U.K. — including Catherine, Princess of Wales, who was shown playing the piano.

Tvorchi eventually placed sixth in the competition, which was won by Swedish singer Loreen who performed her song “Tattoo.” She became the first female singer to win the competition twice.

Russia’s Defense Ministry later confirmed it had attacked Ternopil in a statement posted to its Telegram channel on Sunday, which said it “delivered a strike with high-precision long-range air- and sea-based weapons.” It added that it had targeted places storing “ammunition, weapons and military equipment received from Western countries.”

The attack came after Zelenskyy traveled to Rome, where he met with Pope Francis and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Then on Sunday he traveled to Berlin for a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

There, he thanked Germany for its announcement Saturday that it would provide Ukraine with military aid, including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition, worth nearly $3 billion.

“You can rely on Germany,” he wrote on Twitter. “Together we bring peace closer!”

Inside Ukraine, Russia’s Defence Ministry said that Ukrainian forces made “mass attempts” to break through its defenses in the key eastern city of Bakhmut over the past 24 hours as pressure on its troops continued to mount.

It said that Ukraine had launched attacks in the north and south of the city, but that it had not broken through Russian defenses. “All attacks by units of Ukraine’s armed forces have been repelled,” it said.

NBC News could not verify the claim.

It raised new doubts about the Kremlin’s hopes of seizing a symbolic victory in the city and fueled broader fears among Russian observers about the military’s positions across the front lines of the war.

For months, Russia has anticipated the coming of a Ukrainian spring counteroffensive that is expected to target occupied land across the country. Moscow’s own winter offensive ended with public infighting as it sustained heavy battlefield losses, with more than 100,000 fighters from Kremlin forces being killed or wounded since December alone, according to U.S. estimates.