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Russian TV Rejects Eurovision Compromise For Singer Banned From Ukraine

Russian singer Yulia Samoilova
Russian singer Yulia Samoilova

Russia's Channel One refused an offer by Eurovision Song Contest organizers to have singer Yulia Samoilova participate by satellite after Ukraine blocked her from entering the country to take part in the popular event.

The Russian state broadcaster on March 23 said it found the offer to allow Samoilova to perform remotely to be “odd” because it goes “absolutely against the very essence of the event."

"One of the [event’s] rules...reads that the song should be performed live on the stage," the broadcaster said.

Channel One said the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the event, should not have to “invent new rules” for the Russian performer.

The Geneva-based EBU criticized Ukraine’s decision to bar Samoilova from entering the country, saying the satellite compromise was offered to ensure "all artists can participate."

The Security Service of Ukraine on March 22 said it barred Samoilova from Ukraine for three years because she violated Ukrainian law, an apparent reference to her visit to Crimea in 2015 -- the year after Russia seized control of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry criticized the ban on March 22, calling Ukraine’s government a "regime infected with Russophobic paranoia."

Based reporting by AFP, Interfax, and TASS

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