Ukraine—a perennial favourite at the Eurovision Song Contest—has been forced to withdraw from the 2015 contest. NTU, the country’s state broadcaster, made the shock announcement on its web site this morning.

The unstable financial and political situation, military aggression from the east, the annexation of Ukrainian territories — all these events have forced [the broadcaster] to focus on the main [priorities of] NTU: the construction of public broadcasting in Ukraine. This is necessary to carefully optimize any cost. Therefore, the National Television Company of Ukraine…has decided not to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.

The statement goes on to say that NTU is in negotiations with the EBU to broadcast Eurovision.

Given the ongoing violence and instability in eastern Ukraine, the network’s decision is understandable. Maintaining a functioning news body is more important than fielding a contestant to a song contest. Ukrainian artists understand that, too. According to Vlad Baginskiy, a producer of music programs at NTU:

We consulted with many artists, and they said they would not take part in the competition [saying that] now is not the time for fun. And the money that would be spent on the Ukrainian Eurovision 2015 is better spent on more important needs.

However, there does appear to be a glimmer of hope. NTU’s Director General Zurab Alasaniya hinted that if another body could help fund their participation, the country might still be keen.

If there is someone who wishes to help us — we will be only too happy. But I’m afraid we cannot pull off this project alone.

Few Eurovision fans can honestly say they saw this coming. Ukraine has placed in the Top 10 on eight of its 12 attempts, winning in 2004 and coming second in 2007 and 2008. Its Eurovision stars are part of the national fabric, as demonstrated by their presence in conflict zones in recent months. In a recent poll, our readers voted Ukraine their favourite country at Eurovision.

Yet the stress and strain on the Ukrainian delegation was starting to show this year in Copenhagen. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine coloured much of Mariya Yaremchuk’s experience competing. She had to walk the red carpet just days after dozens of Ukrainians were killed in skirmishes in Odessa. When we spoke to her she told us that her heart was bleeding.

But she put on a good face. When we spoke with her on her hotel balcony a week ahead of the contest, she was trying to stay positive and was as charming as ever.

Are you as gutted as we are? Is Ukraine one of your favourite acts every year? Do you think that circumstances will change and that Ukraine will turn up anyway? We hope and we pray.

Update on September 20, 2014: Mika Newton’s producer has offered to pay for Ukraine’s Eurovision participation.

Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

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Marianna
Guest
Marianna

I respect Ukraine’s decision to withdraw from next year’s Eurovision, because we have war in our country. I hope that my country will return in 2016 though, and russia will withdraw.
Well, I love Eurovision a lot and this is heartbreaking to me. However, I do understand that we have other things that need to be sorted out and Eurovision isn’t on the top of our problems. My fingers are still crossed that someone will help our NTU though to find some money for participating.

Leaf
Guest
Leaf

As sad as the news are, It is totally understandable …. The only good thing here Eurovision wise is that more of the “underdog” countries would actually get a chance to perform on the big stage on Saturday …. Portugal, Bulgaria, Cyprus, San Marino, Belgium, Macedonia, Croatia (if they return).

Alex
Guest
Alex

Sad, but not at all a surprise in retrospect. They are easily one of the best countries in ESC, and I’ll miss them. If I understand it correctly, though, didn’t Greece save a lot of money by making the record companies heavily pitch in? I feel as though Ukraine could do the same. In contrast to Greece, Ukraine has a properly functioning TV station which is sufficiently independent of governmental influence, right? If the artists are all dispirited enough due to the war, though, I can understand why they wouldn’t fully explore those “privatization” options. If they want to have… Read more »

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

This is definitely not good. Pray for Ukraine, that somehow they will make it to Vienna in May…

But if they are unable to, I imagine the hostility towards Russia will reach a fever-pitch. Woe unto their national qualifier; I feel sorry for whoever it is.

Donna
Guest
Donna

I respect Ukraine’s decision to withdraw from next year’s Eurovision. They need to put their country first above everything else and that is a fact that we should all accept. I do hope that they will return in 2016 though (or whenever they are ready to return). 🙁

beccaboo1212
Guest

WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Charles
Guest
Charles

I have to applaud Ukraine on this wise and courageous decision. For once they have proven me that they have their priorities in place and it’s not all about desperately gaining attention with their “overly-gimmicky-oriented” entries … but instead, they are focusing on themselves and taking care of their own issues before allowing using any distraction to pretend as if nothing is wrong. I find this a very mature and deserves my ultimate respect. I have rarely ever appreciated their musical input on the contest, which I found it poor and not my thing, but this I do praise. Greece… Read more »

Britz26
Guest

@Cathal. HAHAHAHA. If i won the lottery i wil give the money to Ukraine!

Darren
Guest
Darren

I have mixed feelings about this, first of all, as Ukraine is a constant qualifier and annual top 10 placer, their withdrawal means that a country which never qualifies or breaks top 10 have a chance to take the top spot. BUT Ukraine is a constant fan favorite. Personally, I’m quite happy with this news (a bit less bloc voting, no gimmick or highly sexed up woman who can’t sing or else sings with the worst English vocab ever) , the break might do them good, see you in 2016 hopefully, Kyiv

dragvision
Guest
dragvision

Other countries in wartime have partecipated to esc.

vvg
Guest
vvg

Sad… One of the best countries in ESC, even when they send a joke-entry (Verka Serduschka ftw).
Oh, and btw, Polish broadcaster TVP kinda confirmed our participation in 2015. Just so you all know.

Nott
Guest
Nott

@alejandro – Poland will compete in Vienna 100% – our public broadcaster is yet to announce their decision.

D
Guest
D

Just remember Lithuania originally withdrew from the 2010 contest, but ended up competing. If Ukraine can find a sponsor they’ll be able to do it, just stay optimistic. I haven’t been in love with too many Ukrainian entries but they’re always above average and I’d miss them a lot.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I’m kinda disappointed. Ukraine has been one of my favorite countries in Eurovision. After Mariya Yaremchuck and her stunning performance I was waiting something greater this year.
Wish they’d change their mind.

Paige
Guest
Paige

Well, there goes my favorite Eurovision country ever. I have LOVED every single one of their songs since they started participating, and this is heartbreaking to me. However, I do understand that they have other things that need to be sorted out and Eurovision isn’t on the top of their problems. My fingers are still crossed that someone will help NTU though

alejandro
Guest
alejandro

Una pena … Poland confirm 2015 participation? and news about Croatia and Morroco? ( Yes, im from Spain ) Se nota ejeej

Cathal
Guest
Cathal

Noooooooo please please please change your mind!!!!! I’ll give you my house!

Mark
Guest
Mark

I feel extremenly sorry for Ukraine. I expected this and I was amazed when I saw them in Copenhagen as well. I hope that they will be able to return in 2016.

Britz26
Guest

I think Ukraine made the right decision. I hope they will return to ESC 2016, if Russia stops with taunting…

Dez
Guest

So sad, but I can understand why. Please come back in 2016, Ukraine.

Vladimir
Guest
Vladimir

I think this is a wrong decision. Ukraine is a country that is falling apart and it is important to have something that will make its people united and proud again. Eurovision and sport events are some ways to do that. Ukrainian people really need to feel they’re proud of their country again and Eurovision can help in that.

I like many Ukrainian ESC entries, but not all of them were great. Still, most performances were very creative and no entry was truly horrible (actually maybe the 2007 one was…).

Thiefo
Guest

🙁 Noo! Ukraine is probably my favourite country of them all! So sad to hear these news, so, so sad indeed. They will be missed, but hopefully we’ll see them back in 2016, fingers crossed!

A Random Swede
Guest
A Random Swede

I seriously fall in love with the Ukrainian entries every year. Ukraine is definitely the best country in Eurovision by far. Hope things will get better and they’ll participate!

Nott
Guest
Nott

I gotta feeling we’ll eventually see Ukraine in Vienna next year
there’s still plenty of time to work things out

David Thielen
Member

Ukraine is my favorite too so this is very sad news. But I also think they’re doing the right thing here if they need the money elsewhere.

If the money can be found, then I hope they do participate to show Russia that they are going to continue to exist as a country and not be beat in to submission.

Paul D
Guest
Paul D

I will miss the ukrainian divas 🙁

Britz26
Guest

Ukraine is one of the best countries in Eurovision, and Russia is taunting Ukraine. (In my opinion). I like Ukraine! I LOVE Ukraine! Ukraine can’t stay at home! Russia might withdraw, not Ukraine!

Duff
Guest
Duff

Terrible news! Absolutely awful.

The EBU should waive the fees for Ukraine because the 60th contest needs one of the best countries participating today.

Alex
Guest
Alex

NO thanks. Ukraine should stay home. I mean cmon Eurovision is not vital for the country and its residents. There’s a serious situation going on in the east of the country so who cares about Eurovision? In my humble opinion, Ukraine should have withdraw in ESC 2014. Dozens of people were killed and Ukraine performed with a song “Tick Tock”…(the irony).

Hopefully Russia withdraws as well.

Euphoria
Guest
Euphoria

Well, the only one to blame here is the Russian goverment (dickhead-Putin).. If Russia hadn’t created this conflict about Crimea then..

1. We would have seen Ukraine on stage 2015.
2. Russia wouldn’t been booed out in 2014. And so on..

Why Russia whyy!

GibboEscFan
Guest
GibboEscFan

I’m really gutted about this, usually I don’t care about could tries withdrawing but Ukraine have constantly sent good song so they are my fav country at esc but seriously they’re participating in Turkvision and jesc yet withdraw from esc? I understand jesc Coz it was planned months back but Turkvision seriously?

Jammy
Guest
Jammy

Three of my favourites (Cyrpus, Bulgaria and Bosnia & Herzegovina) had returned at last, and I was hoping for a great year. But Ukraine remains my all time favourite. I’m gutted :/

But I can see why and I can only hope the contest next year can really help to build bridges and make a peaceful resolution so rum rain can return to their glory 🙂

Youngman
Guest
Youngman

The Best Country !!! Worst information..

Jamaraqueer
Guest
Jamaraqueer

Cannot cope. This is the worst news ever.

David
Guest
David

Nooooooooooo!

Zac
Guest
Zac

RIP GODDESS 🙁 I will miss ALL of your great entries Ukraine, come back please ASAP

Yudhistira Mahasena
Guest

Why Ukraine??? My social studies teacher from Ukraine, Mr. Rengga Muslim, is a member of a boyband called Matari. They won’t participate after all… So sad 🙁

Huh
Guest
Huh

This is a shocker… Take care, my beloved Ukraine.

Archeops
Guest
Archeops

@Dar, you wish.

“We consulted with many artists, and they said they would not take part in the competition [saying that] now is not the time for fun.”
So, why do they still have fun projects on TV?

Dar
Guest

Prediction for 2015 Eurovision , Russia being booed constantly .. Who would be brave enough to represent Russia in 2015 .. Maybe they might also withdraw !!

Deniz@TurkNL
Guest

And I thought this year could be one of the best eurovisions ever with no withdraws. I really believed we would get 42 countries or something and then this happend.

I understand it but I am really sad about this.

Bogdan Honciuc
Editor

I’m gutted.

Maria
Guest
Maria

Ukraine is one of my favourite Eurovision countries, with amazing performers like Ani and Svetlana and beautiful voices like Alyosha, Mika and Zlata. I’m sad. However, I understand this completely and I wish the best for Ukrane.

Calvin
Guest
Calvin

We’ll miss you but understand. May Ukraine find peace soon.

Paul D
Guest
Paul D

Oh god… my favourite country is gone

Mavision
Guest
Mavision

Such a shame… Ukraine is probably one of my favourite Eurovision countries every year. It makes it even worse that it’s because of “military aggression” especially as it’s the 60th celebration too. Totally understandable though with the current difficulties, I really hope things manage to clear up there eventually… Bad news!