Russia dropped out of Eurovision, says will not air it
Russia has pulled out of this year’s Eurovision, organizers of the song contest say, after the host country, Ukraine, barred a Russian contestant from entering its territory.
The grand final of the contest is due to take place in Kiev on 13 May. Yulia Samoylova, a Russian entrant, was refused entry to Ukraine for three years as penalty for her having visited the Crimea in 2015.
She was to sing a song called ‘Flame Is Burning’:
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the producer of the contest, had proposed two possible ways out of the dispute – for Samoylova to perform via satellite from Russia, or else for her to be replaced by a singer who would have no trouble entering Ukraine.
Russia turned down both options, and its main TV, Channel One, said it wouldn’t even air the contest.
Russia’s foreign ministry said the ban on Samoylova was ‘an inhuman act’.
The contest organizers have condemned the ban too. Frank Dieter Freiling, chair of the EBU, said it undermined ‘the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision song contest’.
“We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this,” the group’s statement said.