Russia and Ukraine Facing Sanctions From the European Broadcasting Union

The controversy surrounding Russia-Ukraine relations in Eurovision is never-ending! Today, the chairman of the Eurovision Reference Group, Frank-Dieter Freiling (pictured), has today told German media outlet,, that the Russian and Ukrainian broadcasters are likely to face sanctions from the EBU.
Freiling explains that UA:PBC, the Ukrainian broadcaster, committed to allowing all the Eurovision acts to perform in Kyiv. However, as we know, the Security Service of Ukraine banned the Russian act, Yulia Samoylova, from entering Ukraine for three years. Freiling says:

From the Ukrainian perspective, the legal situation is clear, but from the EBU perspective, it is still a violation of the rules. To that extent, these violations must be sanctioned, no matter who the host is.”

Why are Russia also being sanctioned?

The Russian delegation failed to attend compulsory head of delegation meetings in Kyiv. Many fans suggest that this is because the Russian delegation knew that Samoylova’s participation would cause this controversy, so didn’t bother to travel to Kyiv.

What will the sanctions actually be?

The EBU are yet to confirm the details of the sanctions. But, they have scheduled a meeting for 12 June, in which the EBU will decide whether to fine or even ban Russia and/or Ukraine from the Eurovision Song Contest for three years.
However, earlier this week, the Eurovision executive supervisor and reference group member, Jon Ola Sand, told Norwegian media outlet Aftenposten that he is sure that Russia will take part again next year. He said:

“The Russian broadcaster is very sorry for this and has apologised for what happened. We have not received any reaction from the Russian authorities. This has not been a very big issue in the Russian media.”

Timeline of the Russia-Ukraine controversy

  • 27th June 2015 – Yulia Samoylova performs at the World of Sport and Good concert in Russian-annexed Crimea.
  • 12th March 2017 – Russia announce Yulia Samoylova as their participant at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
  • 14th March 2017 – Ukrainian government find that Samoylova illegally entered Crimea in 2015. The EBU announce that the Ukrainian government are to decide whether Samoylova will participate.
  • 22nd March 2017 – The Ukrainian government ban Samoylova from entering Ukraine for three years.
  • 23rd March 2017 – The EBU offer Russia the opportunity to perform via satellite. Later that same day, Channel One rejects the offer.
  • 27th March 2017 – The Eurovision Reference Group chairman says that the Ukrainian government are yet to confirm Samoylova’s ban.
  • 29th March 2017 – The EBU chief, Ingrid Deltenre, describes Ukraine’s behaviour as “absolutely unacceptable”.
  • 13th April 2017 – Russia officially withdraws from the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
  • 4th May 2017 – The head of the Eurovision Reference Group announces that Russia and Ukraine are both likely to face sanctions.
  • 9th May 2017 – Samoylova to perform in Russian-annexed in Crimea at Victory Day celebrations.

What’s your opinion on this? Do Russia deserve to be sanctioned? Do Ukraine? Tell us in the comments below!

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.

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