Russia has officially withdrawn from next month’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev following a dramatic month of crisis talks about whether its singer, Yuliya Samoylova, could perform in the annual competition.
Last month Ukrainian authorities banned 28-year-old Samoylova from entering the country,stating that the singer had violated Ukrainian law by visiting Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and would not be allowed to enter the country for three years.
The song contest organisers offered the Russian entrant an opportunity to perform from Moscow via a satellite link that would be beamed into the host city, and also suggested that another artist could perform in her place.
However, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has now said in a statement that not only will Russia not be performing at the upcoming contest, but that the country’s main TV station Channel One will not be broadcasting the show.
“Following the official confirmation that Russian Eurovision entrant, Julia Samoylova, will not be permitted to travel to Kyiv to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, the EBU formally offered two alternative proposals to Channel One in a bid to find a solution that would enable Russia to continue their participation in this year’s event,” it said.
“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,” the statement continued.
“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 first Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final takes place on May 9 and May 11. The Grand Final is on May 13.