British PM Rishi Sunak ‘disappointed’ at Eurovision ban on Zelensky message
LONDON—UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is “disappointed” at European broadcasters banning a message by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at this weekend’s Eurovision final, Sunak’s spokesman said Friday, May 12.
The English city of Liverpool is hosting Saturday’s musical extravaganza on behalf of last year’s winner Ukraine, due to the Russian invasion.
But the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said “strict rules” prevented it from granting the Ukrainian leader’s request to speak by video, arguing the contest is “non-political.”
“The prime minister believes it would be fitting for President Zelensky to address the event, and we’re disappointed by the decision from the European Broadcasting Union,” Sunak’s spokesman said.
“The values and freedoms that President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine are fighting for are not political, they’re fundamental.
“Eurovision themselves recognized that last year when they suspended Russian participation from the competition,” he added, while declining to say if the UK would intervene with the BBC, the host broadcaster.
The final is set to include a special tribute to Ukraine, with 11 of its artists performing including last year’s winner Kalush Orchestra.
Video clips will be shown during the evening to showcase different parts of the country. /ra
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