Ukraine defiant over hosting Eurovision Song Contest 2023

Ukraine, which won the competition this year, is unable to host the event due to the ongoing conflict

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The organiser of the Eurovision Song Contest has said it is in talks with the BBC to "potentially host" the event in the UK, after ruling next year's contest cannot be held in Ukraine.

Traditionally, each year's winning country hosts the competition the following year. Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra, a folk-rap group, won the competition in Turin, Italy, last month.

Ukraine has condemned the European Broadcasting Union's decision to strip it of the right to host next year's Eurovision song contest on security grounds after Russia's invasion.

"We will demand to change this decision, because we believe that we will be able to fulfill all the commitments... We demand additional negotiations on hosting Eurovision-2023 in Ukraine," Ukrainian Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko said.

The EBU, which organises the spectacle, said following a "full assessment and feasibility study" it had concluded the "security and operational guarantees" required to host the event cannot be fulfilled by Ukraine's public broadcaster UA:PBC.

The EBU said it was "sad and disappointed" the contest cannot be held in the war-torn country.

"The EBU has been supporting UA:PBC across a whole range of areas since the invasion. We will ensure this support continues so UA:PBC can maintain the indispensable service they provide to Ukrainians," it said.

"As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year's runner-up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the UK.

"It is our full intention that Ukraine's win will be reflected in next year's shows. This will be a priority for us in our discussions with the eventual hosts."

If the UK does host the contest in 2023, it would be the ninth time it has done so — more than any other country.

"We have seen the announcement from the EBU. Clearly these aren't a set of circumstances that anyone would want. Following their decision, we will of course discuss the BBC hosting the Eurovision Song Contest," the BBC said.

The UK's Sam Ryder topped the jury vote in Turin but Kalush Orchestra went on to win overall after a symbolic show of public support which saw them soar to first place with 631 points.

They had been the frontrunners since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, which prompted organisers to ban the Russian entrant from competing.

“I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal, right now,” frontman Oleg Psiuk said moments after their win, to the live crowd of about 7,500, many of whom gave a standing ovation, and a global television audience of millions.

Ukraine joined the international contest in 2003 and its three wins make it one of the most successful of the newer competitor countries — having also triumphed in 2004 and 2016.

— Additional reporting by PA News

Updated: June 18, 2022, 4:38 AM
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