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President's Office denies requesting for Zelensky to speak at Eurovision

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 12, 2023 6:29 PM 2 min read
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President Volodymyr Zelensky's spokesperson Sergii Nykyforov denied on May 12 that the President's Office had submitted a request for Zelensky to speak during the Eurovision Song Contest.

"The Office of the President of Ukraine did not contact the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest suggesting Volodymyr Zelensky give a virtual speech during the finals or at any other stage of the contest," Nykyforov wrote on Facebook.

Previously, it was reported that Zelensky was denied the opportunity to speak at the annual song contest, which Ukraine won last year.

Zelensky has been addressing not only foreign government bodies but cultural events, such as the Grammy Awards, in order to continue building international support for Ukraine.

The European Broadcasting Union released a statement on May 11 that "one of the cornerstones of the (Eurovision) Contest is the non-political nature of the event."

The EBC added that the inclusion of "no fewer than 11 Ukrainian artists" and other efforts to promote Ukrainian culture during the event was "the best way to reflect and celebrate Ukraine’s Eurovision Song Contest win and show we are United By Music during these hard times."

In one of the comments underneath his Facebook post, Nykyforov added that if the EBC had documentation proving the President's Office had contacted them, "they would be able to provide it."

The Times reported on May 12 that U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak thought it would have been "fitting" for Zelensky to speak during the song contest, as the "values and freedoms that President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine are fighting for are not political, they’re fundamental."

The Ukrainian band Kalush won last year's Eurovision, but due to safety concerns due to Russia's all-out war, the tournament is being held in the U.K., last year's runner-up.

Tom Keatinge: Thank you for the music, but I’d rather have visa-free entry
Editor’s Note: The following article was published by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) on May 4, 2023, and has been republished by the Kyiv Independent with permission. The opinions expressed in the op-ed section are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of
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