Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC speaks out: “Russia’s goal wasn’t to compete in Eurovision”

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It’s the eurodrama that has engulfed the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. And last night, the drama played out its final act, as Russian broadcaster Channel One withdrew Julia Samoylova and her song “Flame Is Burning” from this year’s contest in protest of a travel ban imposed on her by Ukraine’s security services. 

Now Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC has hit back at Channel One and suggested Russia’s goal this year wasn’t to compete in Eurovision at all.

Instead, they suggest Russia came to create a “negative atmosphere” around the preparation and organisation of the event.

“The refusal of the Channel One (Russia) to broadcast Eurovision proves that despite the declared respect for the fundamental values of Eurovision, the key ones being mutual respect and political neutrality, the Russian side’s goal was always not to participate in the contest, but to create a negative atmosphere around the preparation and organization of the event.”

Timeline: The Russia-Ukraine spat over Julia Samoylova and Eurovision 2017

They also state that Channel One was unwilling to reach an alternative solution.

“Respecting the desire of EBU to ensure the participation in the Song Contest of representatives of 43 all countries, supporting the traditional spirit of Eurovision, the Ukrainian side had repeatedly invited the Russian Federation to send to Kyiv a participant who did not violate Ukrainian legislation. However, the Russian side left its decision unchanged.”

UA:PBC’s focus is now on successful delivery of the contest.

“In just a few weeks, Ukraine will welcome the guests and fans of the contest in Kyiv and create an unforgettable celebration of music and all-European cultural values for everyone.”

Eurofans will be aware Samoylova’s travel ban was imposed because she performed in illegally annexed Crimea, thus violating Ukrainian law. Her participation had been in doubt since she was announced as the Russian representative in March. Julia’s withdrawal makes 2017 the first year since 2000 that Russia won’t compete in the Eurovision Song Contest.

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