It has been no secret that Russia have faced issues this year with their Eurovision participant. Yulia Samoilova performed in Russian-occupied Crimea, which the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) were not happy about. Today, the SSU have announced that they have banned her from entering Ukraine, and therefore she cannot represent Russia at this year’s contest.
Russia was due to send the disabled singer Yulia Samoilova to this year’s contest in Kyiv. However, on Monday 20th May, the SSU hinted that they were preparing the documents to ban Yulia from entering Ukraine. Moments ago, they have banned Yulia from entering Ukraine for three years.
Olena Hytlianska, a spokesperson for the SSU, said on Facebook:
“Ukraine’s Security Service has banned Russian national Yulia Samoilova from entering Ukraine for three years. The decision was taken due to information that she had violated Ukrainian law.”
In response to the news, the EBU have released a statement saying:
“We have to respect the local laws of the host country, however we are deeply disappointed in this decision as we feel it goes against both the spirit of the Contest, and the notion of inclusivity that lies at the heart of its values.”
“We will continue a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the aim of ensuring that all artists can perform at the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv in May.”
What did she do wrong?
In 2015, Yulia performed in the Crimean city of Kerch. Crimea had been occupied by Russia for over a year at that point.
Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SSU, said on Monday (when they hinted that they were preparing the documents):
“The law should be one for all. She did not just visit Crimea, she also left comments on social networks in which she spoke about Ukraine, its authorities, and its course for Euro-Atlantic integration. My own position is clear: I think she should not come to Ukraine.”
A source from the Russian foreign ministry described the decision as “cynical and inhumane”.
Frants Klintsevich, a senior Russian politician, said that Russia would boycott future editions of the Eurovision Song Contest if the EBU did not support the singer.
Many have suggested that the selection of Yulia as the Russian participant was a move by Russia to reduce the booing which they now frequently face. Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, denied these suggestions, as well as other suggestions that Russia designed the selection to provoke the Ukrainian hosts. He said:
“I would not use words as provocation, because it is the TV channel’s choice. I don’t see any provocation. Almost everybody was in Crimea, there is hardly anyone who has not travelled there.”
The Russian broadcaster VGTRK are yet to respond to this news, and it is unclear if they will select another participant for Russia.
What do you think of this news? Are Ukraine right to ban Yulia? Tell us in the comments!