Russia will not be participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev.
The Russian broadcaster of Eurovision, Channel One, has confirmed that it will not broadcast this year’s event. This is confirmation that the country will not participate.
Julia Samoylova, Russia’s entry for this year’s contest, had been barred from entering Ukraine to perform because she had visited Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which takes charge of the event, said in a statement that Russian organisers were given two possible options in response to the ban – either have Julia perform via satellite or send another contestant in her place.
“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,” the EBU said in a statement.
“Unfortunately this means Russia will no longer be able to take part in this year’s competition,” they continued. “We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this.”
Ukraine’s winning entry from last year, ‘1944’, was about the mass deportation of Crimeans by Josef Stalin during World War Two.
Frank Dieter Freiling, chairman of the EBU’s steering committee, has criticised Ukraine’s decision to ban Russia’s performer, stating that it “thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature” of Eurovision.
“Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in May,” he added.
Take a look at our guide to everything Eurovision 2017, with information on where to watch and links to all the performances.
Watch Russia’s Eurovision entry below: