UK to offer 3,000 Eurovision tickets to Ukrainian refugees

The country will host this year's competition due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which won last year's contest

Kalush Orchestra, representing Ukraine, won last year's Eurovision Song Contest. Getty Images
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Britain's government will make 3,000 Eurovision Song Contest tickets available to displaced Ukrainians after their country was unable to host the competition because of Russia's invasion last year.

The government also said it would provide £10 million pounds ($12 million) of funding to help host Eurovision in May on behalf of Ukraine, which won the competition last year and would normally have become host for the following year.

"Today's announcement means that thousands of tickets will be offered to those displaced by war, so that they can take part in a show honouring their homeland, their culture and their music," Britain's Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said.

"As always, we stand together with the Ukrainian people and their fight for freedom."

Britain was the runner-up in last year's competition. The northern English city of Liverpool will host the 2023 Eurovision. The city was pitted against Glasgow in the final run-off after a list of 20 candidates was whittled down by the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union, which produces the annual event.

The BBC will stage the event, which normally draws a television audience of close to 200 million and was last held in Britain in 1998. Ukraine has automatically qualified for the grand final of the competition.

Kalush Orchestra, who combine folk melodies and hip-hop, won last year's Eurovision. Shortly after their win, they auctioned their crystal microphone on social media for $900,000 to buy drones for the war against Russia.

The sale coincided with the band's appearance at a charity concert at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate to raise money for medical care and supplies.

The money raised from Kalush Orchestra’s Eurovision prize was used to buy three Ukrainian-made PD-2 drones, Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula, who led the auction, said.

Updated: February 25, 2023, 10:25 AM