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Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia Qualify For Eurovision Final

Moldova's Sunstroke Project performs the song Hey Mamma during the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest at the International Exhibition Center in Kyiv on May 9.

Performers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova have made it through to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest, Europe's largest television event.

Artsvik from Armenia, Azerbaijan's Dihaj, and the Moldovan trio Sunstroke Project qualified on May 9 after performing at the glitzy competition's first semifinal, which was broadcast live from the International Exhibition Center in Kyiv.

The seven other acts that qualified for the May 13 final were from Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden.

The second semifinal takes place on May 11. Participants will include performers from Belarus, Macedonia, and Serbia.

Ukraine won the right to host the Eurovision contest and automatically qualify for the final by winning last year.

France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain also automatically qualify as they are the biggest funders of the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the event.

Before the first semifinal results were announced on May 9, Crimean Tatar singer Jamala, who won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, performed her winning song about the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Russia's nominee, Yulia Samoilova, had been scheduled to compete in the semifinal, but Kyiv banned her from the country, saying she violated Ukrainian law by performing in Crimea in 2015. Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014.

Russia pulled out of the contest as a result, rejecting a compromise under which Samoilova would have been allowed to compete via satellite link.

The 28-year-old Russian singer performed in Crimea again on May 9 as Russia was commemorating the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

With reporting by dpa
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