Boris Johnson insisted Ukraine should be given the opportunity to hold the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 – despite the long conflict in the country with Vladimir Putin‘s Russia.

Returning from an unexpected trip to KievThe Prime Minister said that the Ukrainians won the competition in 2022 “fairly”, and invited the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to reconsider the issue.

In a statement Friday, EBU reveals it has started “discussions” with the BBC on holding an annual competition in the UK following the conclusion that Ukraine will not be able to meet the “guarantees of safety and operation”.

Speaking Saturday at RAFT Brize Norton, Mr Johnson said he believed a music competition should be possible in an Eastern European country, despite intense fighting in the east.

“I have just been to Kyiv. I’m not going to say he’s completely shaking, buzzing and getting hit, but he’s much, much more alive. People are much more confident, ”the Prime Minister told journalists.

“People on the streets are eating in cafes and restaurants like they weren’t a few weeks ago.”

He added: “Ukrainians won Eurovision. I know we had a fantastic performance, I know we finished second and I wish it was in this country.

“But the fact is that they won and they deserve it. I believe they can have it and I believe they should have it. I believe that Kyiv or any other safe Ukrainian city would be a fantastic place to have it. “

“I hope the European Broadcasting Union recognizes this. There is a year left, by the time the European Song Contest takes place, everything will be fine. “

This year the Kaluga orchestra from Ukraine won the competition in Turin, Italy, and traditionally the winning country will host the event next year.

However, the EBU said that after a “full assessment and feasibility study” they concluded that the “safety and operational guarantees” required for the event could not be met by Ukrainian public broadcaster UA: PBC.

Mr Johnson also told reporters on Saturday that he was concerned that Ukraine’s “fatigue” was beginning to rise around the world, as Russia’s invasion had been going on for five months.

“We must understand that Ukrainians are suffering terribly in the east of their country,” said the Prime Minister.

“The Russians are moving forward inch by inch, and it is vital for us to show what we know to be true, and that is what Ukraine can and will win.”

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