Eurovision: Risk of air raids and mass casualties too high in Kyiv to host competition in Ukraine, organizers say | world news

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Eurovision organizers say the risk of Russian air raids and mass casualties is too high to host next year’s competition in Kyiv, and have called for the decision not to be “politicised”.

Tradition has it that the winning country hosts the following year’s event, but the war in Ukraine led to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) approach the UK finalists instead.

The BBC is in talks with the EBU to organize the event.

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Last week, Boris Johnson said he hoped Ukraine would still be able to host the competitionsaying “Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a fantastic place to have it”.

However, in a statement released on Thursday, the EBU said: “The EBU fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement that the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 cannot be held in Ukraine, this year’s winning country. .

“At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on or during the Eurovision Song Contest, including crew, staff and journalists.

“Another 30,000 fans are expected to come to the event from all over the world. Their well-being is our primary concern.

“It is therefore essential that decisions made regarding such a complex live television event are made by broadcast professionals and do not become politicized.”

Read more: Ukrainian Eurovision winners raise $900,000 for military by auctioning trophy

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Ukraine’s Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko, along with the country’s three previous winners, pushed back against the EBU’s earlier decision, arguing that holding the competition in Ukraine would send a “strong signal” of support.

But organizers said there was a “severe” risk of air raids or missile attacks causing major casualties, with a “high” risk of a mass casualty event.

Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra lifted their spirits at home when they claimed victory in May. The UK was a finalist in the 2022 competition thanks to Sam Ryder’s rendition of his song “Space Man”.

Kalush Orchestra set to play Glastonbury Festival Friday.

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