Russia has pulled out of 2017 Eurovision in Kyiv after Ukraine refused to allow Russian contestant Julia Samoylova to travel to the Ukrainian capital city for the song contest, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said on April 13.
Ukraine had objected to Samoylova coming to the country because she had performed in Crimea in 2015 after its illegal annexation by Moscow.
The EBU said that it had formally offered two alternative proposals to Russia’s Channel One in a bid to find a solution that would enable Russia to continue their participation in this year’s event.
“These proposals were to either take part via satellite or to change their chosen artist to one who could legally travel to Ukraine for the duration of the contest. Sadly both proposals have been rejected by Channel One and they have now announced they do not intend to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
“Unfortunately this means Russia will no longer be able to take part in this year’s competition. We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this,” the EBU said.
Frank Dieter Freiling, chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the event’s steering committee, said, according to an EBU statement: “We strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Julia Samoylova as we believe it thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest and its mission to bring all nations together in friendly competition.
“However, preparations continue apace for the Eurovision Song Contest in the host city Kyiv. Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest with our Member UA:PBC in May,” Freiling said.