Russia won’t participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in May, after host country Ukraine banned its entrant from entering the country.
Russian singer Julia Samoylova (pictured) was banned from entering because according to Ukrainian law she illegally entered and performed in Crimea, an area occupied by Russia in 2014 but still internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.
In response, Russian state broadcaster Channel One refused to air the popular event.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement it had offered two alternatives to Russia.
“These proposals were to either take part via satellite or to change their chosen artist to one who could legally travel to Ukraine for the duration of the contest,” it said.
But the Russian broadcaster rejected both proposals, the EBU said.
“Unfortunately this means Russia will no longer be able to take part in this year’s competition,” it said.
“We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this.”
Eurovision chairman Dr Frank-Dieter Freiling said: “We believe it thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest and its mission to bring all nations together in friendly competition.
“Preparations continue apace for the Eurovision Song Contest in the host city Kyiv. Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision.”
Last month, it was announced that 17-year-old Isaiah Firebrace will be Australia’s contender in Eurovision 2017, and Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey would take over Australian hosting duties from departing veterans Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang.
The Semi-Finals of the contest will take place on Tuesday May 9 and Thursday May 11, with the Grand Final on Saturday May 13.