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    Entry Ban for Russian Eurovision Participant 'Shows What Kiev Authorities Are'

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    The Kiev authorities' decision to ban Russian Eurovision participant Yulia Samoilova entry to Ukraine is unprecedented, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the international affairs committee of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, said Wednesday on Rossiya 24 television channel.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on Wednesday banned Samoilova from visiting Ukraine for three years.

    "This is certainly an absolutely unprecedented decision, which not only shows what the current Kiev authorities are, but also significantly reduces the authority of Eurovision itself," Slutsky said.

    He added that Russia would call on influential Western politicians to urge Kiev to review its "discriminatory decision".

    On March 12, Russia announced that Samoilova, the winner of the internal competition, will represent Russia at the 2017 Eurovision contest in Kiev. Samoilova, who has been wheelchair-bound since childhood, will sing the song "Flame Is Burning."

    The Russian singer visited Crimea in 2015 with a concert without obtaining a permit from the Ukrainian authorities. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had launched an investigation into the case despite the fact that Crimea has been a Russian region since 2014.

    The 2017 Eurovision contest will be held in Kiev from May 9 until May 13.

    Crimea rejoined Russia in March 2014 following the national referendum, with almost 97 percent of the residents having voted for the reunification. Ukraine still considers Crimea as an occupied territory.


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