28.03.2017 09:32   International

Eurovision scrambles to ensure Russia’s participation in Kiev-hosted song contest

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Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest’s Reference Group Frank-Dieter Freiling emphasized that both sides had rejected an offer for Yulia Samoilova to perform via satellite, - TASS

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has confirmed that it is determined to ensure Russia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest scheduled to be held in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev in May, Frank-Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest’s Reference Group, told Germany’s Tagesspiegel daily. When commenting on the Kiev regime’s decision to issue an entry ban against Russian contestant Yulia Samoilova, he said that "if the decision to ban her from entering Ukraine stands, then the EBU will continue its efforts to provide Russia with an opportunity to participate." "However, both sides have rejected our offer for Yulia Samoilova to perform via satellite", he added.

On March 24, the European Broadcasting Union told TASS that it was considering various options for the disabled vocalist’s participation. "We are continuing our dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the goal of having all artists present to perform in host city, Kiev, which is, of course, our preferred option," EBU Senior Communications officer Dave Goodman explained. "However, in case the travel ban on Yulia Samoilova is upheld, we will have to look into alternative options," he added. 

On March 22, Ukraine's intelligence agency, the SBU issued a three-year entry ban against Samoilova, pointing to her performance at a festival dubbed "A World of Sports and Kindness" held in Crimea on June 27, 2015. Ukraine’s authorities say that by performing in Crimea, the handicapped singer had violated the Ukrainian government’s regulation dated June 4, 2015, which stipulates that foreign citizens should receive “special permission” in order to enter Crimea. The European Broadcasting Union said it was "deeply disappointed" by this decision and offered to broadcast Samoilova’s performance during the contest. However, Russia’s Channel One rejected this proposal. Kiev did not support it either saying it would be a violation of Ukrainian law.

2017 Eurovision Song Contest

On March 12, it was announced that wheelchair-bound Yulia Samoilova had been chosen to represent Russia at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
The contest semifinals will be held on May 9 and 11 while the Grand Final will take place on May 13.

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