Due to a visit she had made to Crimea in 2014, Ukraine has barred Russia’s Eurovision contestant Julia Samoilova from participating in the contest.
As she had entered Crimea illegally, i.e. directly from Russia and not from Ukraine, Julia Samoilova had been banned from the country for three years. Samoilova has confirmed that she had performed in Crimea back in 2015.
Despite their disappointment by the news and that the decision goes against “the spirit of the contest” and “the notion of inclusivity”, the European Broadcasting Union has stated that, “We have to respect the local laws of the host country.” While they’ll still be in talks with the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that all artists will be able to perform, certain Russian politicians have called for a boycott of the show.
Image above: Singer Julia Samoilova
Julia Samailova had previously performed at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, and several critics have pointed out that the decision contradicts this year’s slogan of diversity, considering that the singer has been wheelchair-bound since childhood. The Security Service of Ukraine has also blacklisted at least 140 other Russian artists.