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Ukraine Rejects Eurovision Call To Allow Russian Entry

Singer Yulia Samoilova
Singer Yulia Samoilova

Ukraine has strongly rejected calls from the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest for Kyiv to lift an entry ban on Russia's entry in this year's competition.

"It is unprecedented and unacceptable to demand such extraordinary decisions from Ukraine for the sake of Russia," Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko said in a radio interview that he posted on his Twitter account on April 1.

Kyrylenko also reiterated that Russia can take part in Eurovision in Kyiv "only if their participant is someone who has not violated Ukrainian law."

The comments came after the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) urged Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman to lift the "unacceptable" ban on the Russian singer.

In a letter to Hroysman on March 31, EBU head Ingrid Deltenre warned that "several" unspecified countries have said they would consider boycotting the competition in Ukraine if Kyiv insists on barring Russia's entry.

She also warned that Ukraine's public broadcaster UAPBC "might be excluded from future events."

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, saying Ukraine has "a regime infected with Russophobic paranoia."

On March 24, Russia rejected a compromise offered by the EBU under which Samoilova would be allowed to compete via satellite link.

Ukraine won the right to host the Eurovision contest, the final of which is set for May 13, by winning last year with its entry, a song by Crimean Tatar performer Jamala about the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

With reporting by AFP and Interfax
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