Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision 2022, and as per the rules of the song contest, Ukraine is supposed to host the event in 2023. However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes this contest, has categorically stated it will not take place there. 

“The EBU fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) cannot be staged in Ukraine, this year’s winning country”, the statement read, as per Variety. 

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They clarified that this is because of the need to ensure the safety and security of all those who are working for and participating in the event. For this, planning needs to begin immediately in the host nation. 

However, the situation in Ukraine is currently far from stable, as the nation faces a Russian invasion since February 24. Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, was initially very excited to host the Eurovision contest in the nation in 2023, and after Kalush Orchestra won in Turin, he said on Instagram “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! […] We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt!” 

Ukraine’s culture minister Tkachenko Oleksandr expressed his protestations against the EBU decision to move the event elsewhere. 

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The Eurovision contest remains one of Europe’s most security-conscious live events. Every person with access to the backstage area has to undergo a background check and as per a Variety May report, it takes almost a year for preparations to be put in place. 

Despite the norm that the winning country should host the next instalment, the rules of the context state an exception, which the EBU brought up in its statement, saying “The Rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, that all participating broadcasters agree upon, clearly state that the event can be moved in a force majeure situation such as an ongoing war.”