CONFIRMED: Russia will not compete at Eurovision 2017…even as EBU condemns Ukraine’s ban of Julia Samoylova

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All hope for Russia’s participation at Eurovision 2017 is now lost. Russian broadcaster Channel One has confirmed they will not broadcast this year’s contest, with Julia Samoylova still banned from Ukraine. At the same time, the EBU has revealed that Russia is “no longer able to take part in Eurovision 2017” as negotiations reached a stalemate.

Russia made its announcement in a press statement via the broadcaster. The statement reads that the EBU has been unable to come to terms with Ukraine’s Security Service, who banned Julia from entering the country in March.

Channel One’s full statement

The First Channel has received a letter from the European Broadcasting Union with the message that the EBU could not resolve the question of participation in Eurovision 2017 for the participant from Russia, Yulia Samoylova. This EBU report makes reference to the decision of the Ukrainian Security Services.

The First Channel finds the Ukrainian refusal completely unreasonable. The reason for it, of course, is Ukraine’s attempt to politicize the contest, whose goal throughout its 62-year history has been to unite people.

The European Broadcasting Union still offers the option of remote participation from Yulia Samoylova or her replacement with another participant. But First Channel has said both options are unacceptable.

A remote performance discriminates against the Russian participant and is contrary to the rules and principles of competition. Yulia Samoylova’s replacement with another artist, in our opinion, cannot even be considered.

In this situation, the First Channel does not consider it possible to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.

Channel One again refused in the statement to either send another singer (who has not violated Ukrainian law) or to use the satellite option put forward by the EBU.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs again made their stance clear this morning. In a tweet seen below, they explained that all participants are welcome — provided they “respect” Ukrainian law. The accompanying image specifically lists Julia as being barred from the country.

The EBU has previously mentioned possible sanctions against Ukraine if Russia is unable to participate.

The EBU’s full statement on Russia at Eurovision 2017

Around 18:30 GMT, the EBU finally released its official statement via the Eurovision.tv web site, reiterating that its two options for Russia — a satellite performance or a new performer — had been rejected. The statement said:

“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. Sadly both proposals have been rejected by Channel One and they have now announced they do not intend to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Unfortunately this means Russia will no longer be able to take part in this year’s competition. We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this.”

Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, criticised Ukraine’s unwavering position on Julia’s ban.

“We strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Julia Samoylova as 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. However, preparations continue apace for the Eurovision Song Contest in the host city Kyiv. Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest with our Member UA:PBC in May.”

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