Russia, Ukraine at odds over singer’s Eurovision performance

Russia, Ukraine at odds over singer's Eurovision performance

GENEVA — Eurovision song contest organizers say they have taken the unprecedented step of offering to let Russia’s contestant perform via satellite after authorities in host Ukraine banned her from entering the country — a proposal that was immediately rejected by a Russian state broadcaster.

The European Broadcasting Union says it’s proposing to Russia’s Channel One that Yulia Samoylova can perform live from Russia in the intensely popular TV song contest known for its wide variety of pop music and tacky outfits.

Eurovision executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand said Thursday that show organizers are holding discussions with Ukrainian authorities, saying “it’s imperative that the Eurovision Song Contest remains free from politics.”

Samoylova, who is representing Russia in the May 11-13 contest in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was banned by Ukraine’s security service because she had toured in Crimea after Russia’s 2014 annexation of that peninsula from Ukraine.

Russian state-owned Channel One, which is responsible for broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest in Russia, said in a statement Thursday that it would not agree to broadcast Samoylova’s performance if it did not take place in Kyiv.

The suggestion “contradicts the very point of the event,” Channel One said, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported. “The host country should provide all participants with the opportunity to receive a visa for the duration of the event.”

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, balked at the idea as well, writing on Twitter that “the broadcast of Samoylova’s performance by Ukrainian television channels would be just as much a breach of Ukrainian law as her entry into Ukraine.”

Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv have been high since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the beginning that year of a Russia-backed separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Fighting between the rebels and the Ukrainian government has killed nearly 10,000 people.

Ukrainian law allows banning anyone who enters Crimea by routes other than over its de-facto border with the Ukrainian mainland. Most Russians go to Crimea by ferry or air.

Ukraine won the right to host this year’s show after Ukrainian singer Jamala won the 2016 event. Her winning song shed light on the horrific deportations of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, but also hinted at their recent treatment under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Update: Structure fire reported in Kelowna industrial area put out

A structure fire was reported just after 3:30 p.m. off Sexsmith Road

Kelowna e-scooter company foils downtown robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations

Olympian brings women empowerment in sports to Kelowna

Two-time medalist Natalie Spooner joined the Girls Rock the Rink event

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

Kootnekoff: It’s my strata, and I’ll smoke if I want to (Part 2)

The final part of a legal battle between two strata residents and second-hand smoke

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

COLUMN: Looking back to a time of optimism

The first lunar landing 50 years ago was a time to celebrate dreams and accomplishments

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Letter: Definition issues raised about being Canadian

To the editor: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to comment on U.S.… Continue reading

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Letter: More sani-dumps needed at camps

To the editor: Have you ever tried to book a campsite in… Continue reading

Letter: Bernier a Liberal Trojan horse

To the editor: When Maxime Bernier launched his PPC, he was flat… Continue reading

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read