Joint statement by the Ministers of Culture of Ukraine and UK on Eurovision
TVORCHI band at Eurovision 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Phil Noble)
On the eve of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 final, held on Saturday, May 14 in Liverpool, UK, the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko, and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom, Lucy Frazer, issued a joint statement regarding the competition.
The statement expressed regret that the competition was not able to take place in Ukraine, citing Russia's violation of the peace as the reason for the change in venue. The Ministers emphasized the importance of holding the competition in a safe and secure environment, and expressed their hope that Eurovision would continue to serve as a celebration of diversity and unity in the years to come.
NV shares the full statement below.
A year ago Ukraine’s rap-folk band, the Kalush Orchestra, put on a Eurovision performance that was as spirited as the fight that their compatriots are putting up on the battlefield. Ukraine deservedly won, and it was a victory that gave the whole country a lift. The sounds of cheering and celebration could be heard echoing round the cellars and shelters of Ukraine well after midnight.
In a peaceful world, this year’s contest would be taking place in Ukraine. Millions of people would be taking to the streets of Kyiv and lining the bars of cities like Dnipro, Kharkiv and Donetsk. But the barbaric war being waged by Russia has made that impossible.
The United Kingdom has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine throughout this conflict, and the great city of Liverpool is honoured to host this year’s contest on behalf of our friends and partners, and to celebrate all that Ukraine represents. Liverpool is a special city. The renowned thinker and psychologist Carl Jung – a man immortalised on Matthew Street – famously visited the city in a dream, and even without ever having been to Liverpool, he knew that this city was ‘a pool of life.’ The city of the Beatles, and one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, Liverpool has it all. A hugely vibrant cultural, music and nightlife scene, incredible architecture and a huge passion for sport.
The Eurovision Song Contest represents one of the best examples of how music can unite us all – reminding us that while we may speak different languages and come from different places, we all share the same spirit and joy of this occasion. Across Ukraine, the United Kingdom and all the other participating nations, we know people across the world will be following the Eurovision Song Contest and joining in what will be an unforgettable experience. It takes a village to organise an event on this scale, so we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved.
The organisers have pulled out all the stops to make sure that Ukrainian culture is front-and-centre throughout the contest, while also showcasing the very best that Liverpool and the UK have to offer. We thank both the BBC and the Ukrainian broadcaster, UA:PBC, who have worked seamlessly together in what is an unprecedented situation; and we are very grateful to the team in Liverpool who have put on such an incredible programme.
Eurovision is just one part of our cultural collaboration. Ukraine has led the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture together with the British Council, and the British government has been proud to lead global support for Ukrainian culture, sports and arts since the invasion, protecting priceless works of art held in Ukrainian museums, and assisting the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine to share their music as they tour the UK this year. This collaboration will continue for long after the Eurovision winners are declared and the glitter settles on Saturday night.
So, get on your dancing shoes, warm up your vocal chords and enjoy the incredible show!
Welcome to the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 – and Slava Ukraini.
The 67th International Song Contest Eurovision was hosted by the United Kingdom on behalf of Ukraine, following the victory of Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra in Eurovision 2022. However, due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, hosting the competition in Ukraine poses a threat to security, thus prompting the UK to host the event. This marks the fifth time that the UK has hosted the competition, but the first time in 25 years.
On May 11, the European Broadcasting Union announced that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's request to speak at Eurovision had been denied, according to the contest’s alleged “non-political” nature. The Times reported that "difficult and delicate negotiations are ongoing" on the matter.
In response, Zelenskyy administration spokesperson Sergii Nykyforov stated that Ukraine had not made any such request to the Eurovision organizers.
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