World

‘They deserve to have it’: PM says he hopes next year’s Eurovision can be held in Ukraine

Boris Johnson has said he hopes Ukraine will be able to host next year’s Eurovision song contest, after the country was ruled out due to the war with Russia.

Ukraine won this year’s contest, but the event’s organisers said the 2023 edition could not go ahead in the war-torn country, with the UK being considered as a possible host.

But speaking to reporters at RAF Brize Norton after returning from an unannounced visit to Kyiv, the prime minister said he hoped the contest could go ahead in Ukraine.

He said: “The Ukrainians won the Eurovision Song Contest. I know we had a fantastic entry, I know we came second and I’d love it to be in this country.

“But the fact is that they won and they deserve to have it. I believe that they can have it and I believe that they should have it.

“I believe the Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a fantastic place to have it.”

The BBC has been in talks with the European Broadcasting Union about hosting the event after the EBU ruled it could not go ahead in Ukraine as war rages in the country. The move would be a break with the tradition of the winner hosting the following year’s event.

More on Ukraine

The Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra buoyed spirits at home when they won in May. The UK was runner-up in the 2022 contest thanks to Sam Ryder’s performance of his song “Space Man”.

13 May 2022, Italy, Turin: Sam Ryder from Great Britain with the title "Space Man" with the title "Trenuletul" at the first dress rehearsal for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2022. The international music competition will be held for the 66th time. On 14.05.2022, the winning title will be chosen in the final from a total of 40 music entries. Photo by: Jens B'ttner/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Image:
Sam Ryder came in second

Russian forces have switched their focus to the Donbas after a series of setbacks early in the war, including the failure to seize Ukraine’s capital.

Mr Johnson said that Kyiv appeared “far more lively” than it had been.

“I have just been to Kyiv. I won’t say it is completely jiving and buzzing and popping but it is far, far more lively.

“People are much more confident. People are out in the streets eating in cafes and restaurants in a way that they weren’t a even few weeks ago,” he said.

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