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Russia Won't Broadcast Eurovision Over Singer Dispute With Ukraine

Russian singer/songwriter Yulia Samoilova
Russian singer/songwriter Yulia Samoilova

Russian state television broadcaster Channel One says it won’t show this year's Eurovision Song Contest after Ukraine banned Russia's entry in the competition.

"Channel One considers the refusal by Ukraine absolutely groundless,” a news anchor announced on April 13. “It is an attempt by Ukraine to politicize the competition."

Russia selected singer Yulia Samoilova as its contestant earlier this month. But Ukraine says she is barred from entering the country because she violated Ukrainian law by performing in Crimea in 2015. Russia illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014.

Russia slammed Kyiv's ban and rejected a compromise under which Samoilova would be allowed to compete via satellite link.

Channel One said it took its decision after receiving a letter from the contest's organizer, the European Broadcasting Union, saying it had been "unable to resolve the issue."

Ukraine won the right to host the Eurovision contest by winning last year. The final is set for May 13.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa

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