Russia's spurned singer tapped as Eurovision 2018 contestant

Eurovision 2017 will be held in Ukraine

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Thursday officially confirmed that Russian Federation will not participate in Eurovision 2017 because it did not agree to the proposed alternatives after Ukraine's refusal to let Yulia Samoilova from Russian Federation take part in the contest.

Channel 1 director Konstantin Ernst said Friday an agreement has been reached with the European Broadcasting Union for Samoylova to be Russia's entry next year.

Ukrainian security services have banned the singer from entering the country, because prior to her 2015 performance in Crimea she did not apply for special permission from Kyiv, as mandated under Ukrainian law. Anyone who enters Crimea via Russian Federation is not allowed to travel to Ukraine following the peninsula's annexation.

Channel One dismissed an idea from the EBU that Ms Samoylova perform live from Russian Federation.

Similarly, Armenia chose not to go to the contest when it was held in Azerbaijan because of the ongoing territorial dispute, and previous year the Armenian contestant was reprimanded after she waved the flag for the disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russian Federation has now pulled out of the competition and will not broadcast the event. "We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this", the EBU added.

Earlier this year, Ukraine announced it would bar Russia's 28-year-old entrant Yulia Samoylova from entering the country.

In 2009, the EBU rejected Georgia's entry, a disco-flavoured song called We Don't Wanna Put In, a barely veiled criticism of Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the wake of the previous year's short war between Georgia and Russia.

The motto of the 2017 Kyiv Eurovision song contest is "celebrating diversity".

"However, preparations continue apace", the organiser said.

It says Ukraine is undermining the non-political nature of the contest.

Samoilova has been in a wheelchair since a bad reaction to a vaccine in childhood, according to the biography on her website.

Tensions between the two countries were already high after Ukraine's 2016 contestant, Jamala, took home the top prize with a song alluding to the mass deportations that occurred under Joseph Stalin.

Ukrainian authorities have imposed a travel ban on Russia's Eurovision contestant Yulia Samoylova.

42 nations will compete, with Austria, Denmark and the United Kingdom celebrating 60 years of participation.



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