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Ukraine bans Russia's Eurovision singer from entering the country

The singer is said to have performed in Russia-annexed Crimea, prompting Ukrainian fury.

Julia Samoilova has been banned from performing in the Eurovision by Ukrainian authorities.
Julia Samoilova has been banned from performing in the Eurovision by Ukrainian authorities.
Image: Ekaterina Lyzlova/AP Photo

UKRAINE HAS BARRED a Russian singer from entering the country to participate in this year’s Eurovision song contest, due to be held in Kiev in May.

The country’s security service (SBU) said that Julia Samoilova was banned over a past performance in Russia-annexed Crimea.

“The Security Service of Ukraine has banned Julia Samoilova from entry for three years,” SBU spokeswoman Olena Gitlyanska said. “The decision was taken just now.”

Gitlyanska added the ban had been imposed because Samoilova had been “in violation of Ukrainian legislation.”

Samoilova is a wheelchair user who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy. She was a finalist in the Russian version of the X-Factor, and performed at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the Interfax news agency: “This is yet another outrageous, cynical and inhumane act by the Kiev authorities”.

Political tension has persisted in the region since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014

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

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The song which won the Eurovision song contest for Ukraine last year was a politically charged one.

A combination of a jury and public vote saw a song about the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars under Josef Stalin, sung by Jamala, selected to represent the country.

Ukraine narrowly won the contest, with Australia second and Russia coming in third.

With reporting from AFP - © – AFP, 2017

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Sean Murray

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