British Prime Minster Rishi Sunak has waded into the debate regarding the EBU’s decision to not allow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to address the contest in tomorrow night’s show.
The EBU late last night released a statement advising that they had rejected a request from the Ukrainian leader to address the fans of the contest for support, citing the “non-political nature” of Eurovision and that it would go against the values of the contest. In the statement, the broadcasting union cited the heavy Ukrainian influence on this year’s show as the optimal way to represent Ukraine instead.
Now, the British PM has suggested that Zelenskyy should be allowed to address followers of the contest and is said to be “disappointed” by the EBU’s decision.
Sunak’s spokesperson said “The values and freedoms that President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine are fighting for are not political, they’re fundamental. The EBU themselves themselves recognised that last year by banning Russian artists from performing.” He has however said he would not push for broadcasters and the EBU to change their mind.
Leader of the opposition in the UK, Sir Kier Starmer, has also called for Zelenskyy to address Eurovision, saying that ”
It’s vital that we all continue to keep the plight of the Ukrainian people front of mind as they stand up to Russian aggression on behalf of us all. Eurovision is an expression of international unity and freedom, and President Zelenskyy should be able to address it as a great defender of both”
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko added “We understand all the internal politics and the unbiased sort of approach to all this, that’s why we don’t have to push too much.”
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