Several news outlets report that Ukraine will ban the Russian participant in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, Julia Samoylova, from travelling to Ukraine. Julia was due to represent Russia with the song ‘Flame Is Burning’.
“Ukraine’s Security Service has banned Russian national Yulia Samoylova from entering Ukraine for three years,” SBU spokesperson Olena Hytlianska said in a statement. “This is due to information that she had violated Ukrainian law.”
Reason for the ban is the fact that Samoylova performed in the Crimean city of Kerch in 2015.
EBU: “Respect the local laws”
The Ukrainian authorities have confirmed to the EBU that they have issued a travel ban on the Russian Eurovision artist. The EBU reacts as followed:
“We have to respect the local laws of the host country. However we are deeply disappointed in this decision. As we feel it goes against both the spirit of the Contest, and the notion of inclusivity that lies at the heart of its values.”
“We will continue a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the aim of ensuring that all artists can perform at the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv in May.”
In 2012, the EBU strictly demanded security guarantees from the Azeri government. These guarantees with regards to freedom of expression as well as the safety for a potential Armenian participant. The Azeri government temporarily changed its visa policy for Armenian citizens. However, in the end, the Armenian delegation decided to withdraw from the contest nonetheless.
This year, EBU took similar notions with Ukranian broadcaster NTU. Earlier on in the season, EBU’s Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand stated that “all Russian artists should be able to participate in Kiev, even the ones on the “blacklist”.”
Russia plans to withdraw from contest permanently
Meanwhile, Russia plans to step down from taking part at the Eurovision Song Contest in the future. “If the Eurovision leadership is silent, it’s completely politicized and biased,” Russian politician Frants Klintsevich said.