Ukraine-Russia: Jamala says decision not to host Eurovision in Ukraine is ‘very painful’

Ukrainian Eurovision winner Jamala has said 2023's song contest should be held in the UK if her home country is unable to host.

The 38-year-old singer, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 with her tune 1944, fled Kyiv in March following the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra went on to win this year's contest in Turin, but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it was in talks with the BBC to "potentially host" the 2023 event after concluding next year's contest cannot be held in Ukraine.

"It's really sad the EBU decided to take away all this chance and all this hope," said Jamala, who fled her home in the country's capital shortly after the war began. "[But] I really understand that it has to be in a peaceful place for participants and for everybody. Great Britain came second in the competition, so if Ukraine is unwilling to host the event for whatever reason, it would be fair to hold it in one of your cities."

Ukrainian singer Jamala with Spanish singer Chanel Terrero earlier this year.


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Jamala said she considered the decision on where to host the competition to be "premature", but added the EBU's conclusion was "very painful" as a Ukrainian.

She spoke about her time spent touring Europe to spread the message of anti-war, including an appearance at Glastonbury where she saw what a "treasure" it is to be human.

"It's the first Glastonbury in my life and I see that freedom," Jamala said. "It's [a] treasure to be human ... to be wearing whatever and just express yourself. You don't even know how important it is.”


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