Russia pulls out of Eurovision after contestant is barred from host country

Russian television station Channel One will not be broadcasting the competition either.

Russia has pulled out of Eurovision after their contestant Julia Samoylova was barred from the host country, Ukraine.

A dispute was raised as to whether Samoylova would be able to attend the competition, as she toured Crimea in 2015 – a country that was annexed by Russia.

According to The Guardian, The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), told Russian television station Channel One that it had been unable to resolve the dispute, causing Russia to pull out of the competition entirely.

It has been reported that possible solutions included a change of contestant that could travel to Ukraine, or a satellite performance from Samoylova. Both were turned down by the Russian television station.

Frank Dieter Freiling who is chair of the Eurovision song contest reference group said that they “strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Julia Samoylova,” adding that they 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.”

A statement from the EBU read: “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.”

Ukraine won the right to host the Eurovision song contest this year, after Jamala won the 2016 competition with her song ‘1944’. It depicted the suffering endured by her ancestors during deportations under the regime of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, which caused further tension with Russia.