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Several States May Boycott Eurovision Over Ban on Russian Singer

© AFP 2021 / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDSupporters wave flags ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Grand Final in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 10, 2014
Supporters wave flags ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Grand Final in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 10, 2014 - Sputnik International
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A number of European countries have warned they would withdraw from the 2017 Eurovision contest in Ukraine after Kiev decided to impose an entry ban on the Russian contestant, Director General of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Ingrid Deltenre said in her letter to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On March 22, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) imposed a three-year border entry ban on Russian 2017 Eurovision contestant Yulia Samoilova, citing the singer's alleged "violation of the Ukrainian legislation."

Singer Yulia Samoilova, Russia's representative at Eurovision 2017, at Sheremetyevo International Airport - Sputnik International
Eurovision Organizer Denies Sanctions on Ukraine Over Russian Singer Visa Ban

Samoilova visited Crimea in 2015 to perform at a concert without first obtaining a permit from Ukraine. In accordance with the country's law, Ukraine may ban entry for foreigners who had visited post-referendum Crimea without a permit from Kiev.

"The current situation is causing anger amongst our Members – European Broadcasters across Europe – and we have received communication from a number of them criticizing the decision and considering withdrawing from the event," Deltenre said in the letter dated March 23.

Singer Yulia Samoilova - Sputnik International
European Broadcasting Union Stands Up for Russia's Participation in Eurovision
No previous host country has ever prevented a singer performing at the contest, and stressed that the EBU "would not like a precedent to be set in 2017," she noted.

"We consider the current ban of the Russian singer as unacceptable. As a consequence the UAPBC [National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine] might be excluded from future events," Deltenre added.

According to Deltenre, the EBU tries to ensure that the contest remains a non-political event, and is deeply frustrated – "in fact angry" – that Ukraine uses the competition as a tool in the confrontation with Russia.

"Please be aware that should we not be able to find an agreeable solution to this matter it will without doubt place the future participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest under threat," Deltenre stressed.

Ukraine gained the right to host the Eurovision contest this year after the song "1944," performed by Ukrainian singer Jamala, ended up winning the 2016 contest. The contest is scheduled to take place in Kiev on May 9-13.

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