Ukraine bars Russia's Eurovision entrant over Crimea visit

Ukraine has barred Russia's entry for the 2017 Eurovision song contest from entering the country after she violated entry Ukrainian laws

22 March 2017, 3:01pm
Samoylova toured in Russia-annexed Crimea in 2015, without entering it by going through the de facto border with the Ukrainian mainland
Samoylova toured in Russia-annexed Crimea in 2015, without entering it by going through the de facto border with the Ukrainian mainland
Ukraine has barred Russia’s entrant for this year’s Eurovision song contest because she had performed in Russia-annexed Crimea in 2015, in breach of Ukrainian laws, a spokeswoman for Ukraine's state security service (SBU) said on Wednesday.

Russia chose Yulia Samoylova, 27, to represent the country in the 11-13 May contest in Kiev. In 2015, Samoylova toured in Russia-annexed Crimea, without entering it by going through the de facto border with the Ukrainian mainland. Under Ukrainian law, that allows authorities to block her entry into Ukraine.

"The Security Service of Ukraine has banned the citizen of the Russian Federation Yulia Samoylova from entering the country for a period of three years," SBU spokeswoman Olena Gitlianska wrote on Facebook.

Ukraine, which won the right to stage the 62nd Eurovision event after its contender won the 2016 competition, has previously said it would deny entry to certain Russian singers it deemed anti-Ukrainian. Apart from Samoylova, the SBU has blacklisted at least 140 other Russian artists.

The Kremlin has denied Samoylova had been picked out of a desire to provoke Ukraine politically and said the choice was made independently by state-run broadcaster Channel One.

"It's clear that one should wish to avoid any politicisation of Eurovision and we believe it is absolutely unacceptable," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a daily conference call.

Ria-Novosti news agency quoted a senior Russian politician, Frants Klintsevich, as saying Russia would boycott future Eurovision contests if the organisers failed to stand up for the singer.