SNL opens with 'inspiring' rendition of the Ukrainian national anthem

Saturday Night Live opens with 'inspiring' rendition of the Ukrainian national anthem

Saturday Night Live swapped out its usual cold open for a tribute to Ukraine last night, amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

The show hosted a performance of the country’s national anthem by the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York in a touching opening sequence.

The set was transformed for the anthem with candles in the shape of the capital city of “Kyiv”.

Following the rendition of the anthem, cast members Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong stepped in to say: “Live from New York, it's Saturday night.”

The show was fronted by former SNL writer and standup John Mulaney, who was hosting the programme for the fifth time.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine was then tackled in the Weekend Update, with Colin Just saying: “This week, Russia began their invasion of Ukraine. President Putin launched the attack with the support of allies like Belarus and Tucker Carlson.”

He then joked about NBC’s low rated coverage of the Beijing Olympics.

“Many analysts were surprised that Putin went through with it even though it was obviously going to be a colossal mistake. But he couldn't back down after all that build up. Kind of like how NBC still had to go through with airing the Winter Olympics.

“Experts on Russian politics are saying that economic sanctions from the west will not deter Putin because his money is in non-traditional assets that are difficult to trace,” he added. “So on top of everything else awful about Putin, he's also into crypto.”

The opening sequence was praised for being "moving" and "inspiring" by viewers.

Meanwhile, the conflict is now into its fourth day, with heavy fighting underway in Ukraine’s second city as Russian troops entered Kharkiv in the early hours of Sunday morning.

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