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Russian Opera Star Banned In Azerbaijan Over Visit To Armenia

The Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry has blacklisted Russian opera singer Lyubov Kazarnovskaya because of her recent visit to Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territories, Baku authorities said.

She is "unwelcome" because her Azerbaijani visit violated Azerbaijan's border law and "promoted Armenia’s aggression and occupation against Azerbaijan," including its "bloody ethnic cleansing" of Azerbaijanis, said ministry spokesman Hikmet Hadjiyev.

Kazarnovskaya said it was a stupid decision.

"I went to Nagorno-Karabakh on a cultural mission," she said, using the Armenian name for the disputed region. "The people in Nagorno-Karabakh do not want any war. They want peace. They want to give birth to children and hear the sounds of music. You cannot imagine how much love and joy we have received."

Kazarnovskaya said she is happy to keep company with Montserrat Caballe, who was also blacklisted.

"The human spirit is beyond any politics or aggression. Music is something that the Lord bestowed on us," she said.

Kazarnovskaya attended the festival along with many of her students.

Based on reporting by Interfax, TASS, and APA