Eurovision Song Contest winners Kalush Orchestra have said they are “grateful” to the UK for showing solidarity with Ukraine and for hosting the event next year on their country’s behalf.
The Ukrainian folk-rap group were triumphant at this year’s competition in Turin, Italy, which would traditionally mean their home country would host the event the following year.
However, the organisers of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) previously decided the contest could not be held in the war-torn country following the Russian invasion.
It was announced on Monday that the UK will host Eurovision 2023 as British singer Sam Ryder came runner-up in this year’s competition.
Following the news, Kalush Orchestra’s lead singer Oleh Psiuk said in a statement to the PA news agency: “Of course, we are very sad that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be held in Ukraine next year.
“But we are grateful to the UK for their solidarity and for agreeing to hold the event in support of our country.
“We hope Eurovision 2023 will have a Ukrainian flavour and celebrate our beautiful, unique culture.
“We, in turn, will make all efforts to help Ukraine win next year as well, so that Eurovision 2024 can take place in a peaceful country.”
Following their Eurovision win with their song Stefania, the group auctioned off their trophy to raise money for the Ukrainian army.
They said they raised 900,000 dollars (£713,000) by auctioning off the glass microphone, and a further 370,000 dollars (£293,000) by raffling off the pink bucket hat frontman Psiuk wore during the performance.
Last month, the group also delivered their first UK performance since they triumphed in Turin with a set on Shangri-La’s Truth Stage at Glastonbury Festival.
During their performance, they expressed their hope that Ukraine might still be able to host the event and thanked the crowd for supporting their country.