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Ukraine Blocks Entry Of Two Russian Journalists Heading To Eurovision

  • RFE/RL

The official logo for this year's Eurovision Song Contest on Kyiv's Independence Square, where the Euromaidan protests began in 2013.

Ukraine has blocked entry to the country of two Russian journalists who were going to Kyiv to cover the Eurovision Song Contest.

Two reporters from the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, both accredited to work at the contest, were detained at the border and eventually turned away and barred from entering Ukraine for three years, according to border service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan.

"The state border service notes that having accreditation for Eurovision does not give you the right to cross the border," Slobodyan wrote on Facebook on May 7.

The newspaper confirmed to the TASS news agency that the reporters were denied entry to Ukraine.

Though Eurovision is supposed be about bringing people together through music, the contest has often struck political notes over the past six decades and this year's edition is no exception.

In April, Ukraine banned Russia’s entrant to the contest, singer Yulia Samoilova, 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. The country later pulled out of the contest altogether.

Russia occupation and subsequent annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, allegedly thrust eastern Ukraine into war in 2014. The resulting conflict has cost at least 9,940 lives and displaced roughly 2 million people.

Ukraine fears Russian-orchestrated provocations during Eurovision, Mariana Betsa, head of communications for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, said.

Ukraine won the right to host the Eurovision contest by winning last year.

The semifinals are set for May 9 and May 11, while the final will be held May 13.

With reporting by TASS and AFP
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