A Ukrainian singer has had her bid to represent her country at this year’s Eurovision put on hold following an investigation by a TV broadcaster.
On Saturday (February 12), Alina Pash booked her ticket to the world’s biggest song contest after winning Vidbir, the nationally televised selection show that Ukraine uses to find its Eurovision entry.
Eight hopefuls competed in Vidbir, with a combination of a public vote and a jury vote determining the winner, both contributing 50 per cent of the points.
However, Ukraine’s national broadcaster UA:PBC has now “suspended” the signing of the agreement for Pash to be the country’s representative at the song contest due to an investigation into a 2015 trip she made to Crimea, an area Russia seized control of in 2014.
Visiting Crimea is frowned upon as there are strict rules in place on how people should travel to the region. Ukrainians and foreigners are only allowed to travel there through official land checkpoints. It’s illegal under Ukrainian law to travel to Crimea via Russia.
Because of the trip, some people are claiming that Pash is un-Ukrainian. “I’m a Ukrainian girl. I’m talking in Ukrainian and my song is about Ukraine,” she told BBC Newsbeat. “There is no way that I can be against it.”
Pash has provided authorities with proof of how she entered the region. In a statement shared with Newsbeat, Ukraine’s public broadcaster said it is “expecting the response of the State Border Guard Service” to “confirm the validity of the document”.
The 28-year-old rose to fame on her country’s version of The X Factor. Her song ‘Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors’ aims “to show the world that Ukrainian culture is beautiful”, Pash explained.
The investigation into her trip comes as the world waits to find out if Russia will invade Ukraine. The situation between the two countries could change drastically before they both share the Eurovision stage together in Italy this coming May.
Pash has said that she and some of her friends have their bags packed ready in case they need to go on the run. “We need to be ready,” she said, adding that if Russia does invade she’ll be ready to “fight”.
“I believe in my message that we don’t need a war but if they (Russia) are going to push us we’re going to stand together,” she continued. “Artists like myself want to create something good. We want to create light and positive news but we’re living in this reality. We’re going to react. We’re not going to run.”
In other news, Mika was recently announced as one of a trio of hosts for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. He’ll be joining renowned Italian singer Laura Pausini and TV personality Alessandro Cattelan on presenting duties.
Eurovision 2022 will take place at the PalaOlimpico in Turin, Italy, with the Grand Final set for May 14.