Russia's entry for 2017 Eurovision Song Contest barred by Ukraine

Russia's participation in the Kiev contest in May is fraught with political tensions as the two ex-Soviet neighbours have been locked in a bitter feud since Moscow annexed Crimea in March 2014.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The logo of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is seen during a ceremony to hand over the Eurovision host city insignia to the Ukrainian capital in Kiev, Ukraine, January 31, 2017.

Updated Mar 23, 2017

Russia's contestant for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest has been barred from entering Ukraine over a past performance in Russia-annexed Crimea, the Ukrainian security service (SBU) said Wednesday.

"The Security Service of Ukraine has banned Yuliya Samoilova from entry for three years," SBU spokeswoman Olena Gitlyanska said. 

A wheelchair user, Samoilova performed at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, as well as at a gala concert in Crimea aimed at popularising the sport in June 2015.

Russia-Ukraine relations are at an all-time low after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and now even sporting, or cultural events are potential sources of tension between the two countries.

Ukraine, which won the right to stage the 62nd Eurovision event after its contender won the 2016 competition, has previously said it would deny entry to certain Russian singers it deemed anti-Ukrainian.

Ukraine had also condemned the choice of the singer as a Russian "provocation," while the Kremlin insisted it opposed "politicising" the contest.

TRTWorld and agencies