President Zelenskyy Confirms Ukraine Will Be Able To Host Eurovision Next Year
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Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has confirmed his country will be able to host Eurovision next year, following a poignant victory last night for folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra.
Ukraine was crowned the winning nation after receiving 631 points from both public and jury votes, followed by the United Kingdom in second place – its first top three finish in 20 years.
As the winning country traditionally takes on hosting duties for the following year’s contest, many people wondered whether or not Ukraine would be able to amid the Russian invasion.
However, Zelenskyy has vowed to hold the event in Mariupol in 2023, having praised his country’s winning act in a Facebook post.
He said: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!
“Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision!
“For the third time in its history. And I believe – not for the last time.”
The post continued: “We will make sure that one day the participants and guests of Eurovision host Ukrainian Mariupol.
“Free, peaceful, restored!
“Thank you for the victory Kalush Orchestra and everyone who voted for us!
“Sure, our winning chord in the battle with the enemy is not far away.
“Glory to Ukraine!”
Speaking before the win, Oleh Psiuk of Kalush Orchestra said he was hopeful Eurovision could be held in the country.
"Eurovision next year [will be] in the free home and reconstructed and rebuilt and happy Ukraine," he said.
The contest comes with the backdrop of war in Europe for the first time since Second World War, after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.
Extraordinarily, members of Kalush Orchestra were actually fighting on the frontline in the Ukraine war before being given special permission to compete in Eurovision.
The group told Eurovision TV: "We feel a big responsibility, since we received permits to leave Ukraine to be here. We have a duty to be useful to our country at this moment. We didn't have any opportunity to rehearse together for a long time, but now, we've gone into 'extra mode'.
"We're all very hard working, and we're all doing what we can to make this happen. We've enjoyed seeing people singing our song, even if they didn't know all the words. We really appreciate seeing people supporting Ukraine, and supporting us."
Despite missing out on the win, the United Kingdom can be very happy with how the competition went for it.
Sam Ryder, of Maldon in Essex, did better than any other United Kingdom entry since 1997, which was the last time the UK won Eurovision when Katrina and the Waves performed 'Love Shine a Light'.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Ukraine, Eurovision