The European Broadcasting Union has confirmed that Russia is no longer able to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
The European Broadcasting Union has released a statement reading as follows:
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 Head of the Reference Group added:
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.
Yulia Samoilova was banned from entering Ukraine for a period of three years by the Ukrainian Security Service. Yulia was banned after it was found she had traveled to Crimea in 2015 and did not use an official Ukrainian border entrance, thus breaching Ukrainian law.
Following the initial banning of the EBU responded the following day by suggesting that Yulia could perform remotely in Moscow. The proposal was rejected by Channel One who stated they did not want the rules changed for them, while Ukraine insisted that the proposal would reject existing rules.
The Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest went on to propose that Ukraine only enforce the ban after the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 has been held in May. Mr Sand’s comments have been followed by statements of disappointment and anger from EBU members at the way the competition is being used for political means by both Ukraine and Russia.