The UK has agreed with this year’s Eurovision winner Ukraine to host the next edition of the contest instead due to the Russian invasion, the British government announced on Monday.
“Following a request from the European Broadcasting Union (which organizes the event) and the Ukrainian authorities, the BBC has agreed to host the competition next year,” British Culture Minister Nadine Dorries said in a statement, as the UK United came second last May in Turin.
“I regret that due to the bloodshed that Russia continues to cause, it is not possible for us to host the event in Ukraine, where it should take place,” he insisted.
Ukraine had initially denounced the decision to withdraw receipt of the next edition, demanding further negotiations.
London had expressed reluctance to deprive Ukraine of the event, followed by tens of millions of pop fans and the spotlight.
A British government spokesman said on Monday that outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson was of the opinion that Ukraine should host the Eurovision and that “all options” had been considered, without success.
“We trust that the BBC and the UK will do everything possible to ensure that the event takes place and honors the country, the people and the creativity of Ukraine,” he said.
The BBC said the contest will give a big part to “Ukrainian culture and heritage”.
The British public audiovisual group, which has broadcast Eurovision since 1956, will launch this week the selection process to choose the host city of the contest.
It was also stated that Ukraine will automatically qualify for next year’s final.
Great favorite, the Kalush Orchestra had won the final of the contest in May with the song “Stefanía” mixing hip hop and traditional music, a very symbolic victory in the midst of the Russian invasion.
The British Sam Ryder and his title “Space Man” took second place, something unexpected for the British, used to finishing at the bottom of the board in recent years, with even zero points in 2021.
The last time the UK hosted a Eurovision was in 1998, in Birmingham, central England.