UK to host 2023 Eurovision Song Contest due to war in Ukraine

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The UK's 2022 Eurovision entrant Sam Ryder credit:Bang Showbiz
The UK's 2022 Eurovision entrant Sam Ryder credit:Bang Showbiz

The UK will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest as Ukraine is unable to hold the event, despite the country's act Kalush Orchestra winning this year's competition.

Although traditionally the victorious nation hosts the competition the following year, an alternative for 2023 had to be found as Ukraine was unable to host the contest due to the ongoing war with Russia, military action that was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

Britain's 2022 entrant Sam Ryder came second place behind Kalush Orchestra with his song 'Space Man', and the UK offered to step in and host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest after reaching an agreement between Ukraine and broadcasters.

The BBC, which will televise the competition in Britain, has now started searching for the host city.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: "It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

"Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.

"The BBC will now begin the process to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023."

Martin Osterdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest's executive supervisor, added: "We're exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023.

"The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions.

"Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year's contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe's most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year's winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event."

Mykola Chernotytskyi, Chief Executive Officer at Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC), has confirmed that the BBC and European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will honour Ukrainian culture and Kalush Orchestra's win with the song 'Stefania', despite the move to the UK.

Chernotytskyi said: "The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine.

"We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us. I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent."

Reacting to the news on Twitter, outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed he and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the importance of the event celebrating the "people of Ukraine".

Johnson posted: "Last week President @ZelenskyyUa and I agreed that wherever Eurovision 2023 is held, it must celebrate the country and people of Ukraine.

"As we are now hosts, the UK will honour that pledge directly – and put on a fantastic contest on behalf of our Ukrainian friends."

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