After five months of Russian invasion, Ukraine has resolved to give up the next Eurovision: the organization of the 2023 edition of the extravagant song contest returns to the United Kingdom, which came second and at the peak of support in Kyiv.
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After its very symbolic first place in Turin in May, Ukraine had strongly contested last month the decision of the organizer of the event, followed by tens of millions of viewers, to withdraw the 67th Eurovision for security reasons. .
But an agreement was announced on Monday for the BBC to organize the contest, in a version that will feature Ukraine, "on behalf of this year's winning broadcaster, Ukrainian UA:PBC", the European Union insisted. Radio-Television (EBU) in a press release.
Announcing the arrangement, UK Culture Minister Nadine Dorries said the UK was accepting the organization "following a request from the European Broadcasting Union and the Ukrainian authorities".
“I am sorry that due to the bloodbath still caused by Russia, it was not possible to host the event in Ukraine, where it should take place”, she insisted.
In June, the EBU considered that the security conditions were not met for Ukraine to organize the competition and launched negotiations with the United Kingdom, which came second in Turin in May.
kyiv had demanded additional negotiations and London had expressed its reluctance to deprive Ukraine of the pop and glitter event.
A spokesperson for the British government assured Monday that outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson was of the opinion that Ukraine should organize Eurovision and that “all options” had been considered for this, without success.
"But we are confident that the BBC and the UK will do their utmost to ensure the event celebrates and honors the country, people and creativity of Ukraine," he said. precise.
The candidate cities jostle
London has been at the forefront of support for Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion, harshly sanctioning Moscow and early supplying lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military while Boris Johnson has remained in close contact with President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he has visited twice since the start of the new Russian offensive in February.
The two candidates for his succession, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have assured that they want to continue on this path.
The EBU has indicated that Ukraine will automatically qualify for the final next year. The Ukrainian broadcaster will be associated with its organization so that the contest highlights its country.
"The Eurovision 2023 contest will not be in Ukraine but will be in support of Ukraine," said its director Mykola Tchernotytski, quoted in a press release. “Together, I am sure we can add Ukrainian spirit to the event and once again unite all of Europe around our values of peace, support, celebration of diversity and talent.”
Big favourite, the Kalush Orchestra won the final of the competition in May with the song Stefania mixing hip-hop and traditional music, a victory symbolizing Ukrainian resilience in the war and European popular solidarity.
The Briton Sam Ryder and his title Space Man had obtained second place, an unexpected result for the British accustomed to the bottom of the table in recent years, with even zero points in 2021.
The United Kingdom has not hosted Eurovision since 1998, then in Birmingham, in the center of England.
The BBC, which has been broadcasting Eurovision since 1956, will launch this week the selection process for the host city of the contest, which will give a large part to "the culture and heritage of Ukraine", according to the group British public broadcasting.
Several cities have already applied, such as Manchester, in the north of England, but also London, which "would be honored to organize a competition that celebrates the people of Ukraine and the best of the United Kingdom", assured his Mayor Sadiq Khan.