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MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Singer Yulia Samoilova, who will not have a chance to participate in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest scheduled to be held in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in May, will represent Russia at the contest in 2018, Russia’s Channel One Director Konstantin Ernst told TASS.
Channel One earlier decided to cancel the broadcast of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in light of the entry ban issued by the Ukrainian authorities against the Russian contestant.
"We have held talks on that with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) so they know that Yulia Samoilova will represent Russia," Ernst said when asked if Russia would participate in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
The Channel One director pointed out that the EBU should understand that the contest would lose a large part of its audience since Russia had cancelled the broadcast. "The European Broadcasting Union made its choice. I believe that as the contest’s organizers, they should, first and foremost, ensure that the contest’s rules are respected while the rules do not provide a host country with the right to impose restrictions on participants," Ernst added.
On March 12, Channel One announced that wheelchair-bound singer Yulia Samoilova had been chosen to represent Russia at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
On March 22, the Ukrainian Security Council (SBU) issued a three-year entry ban against Samoilova, citing her performance at a festival dubbed "A World of Sports and Kindness" held in Crimea on June 27, 2015. Ukraine’s authorities say that by performing in Crimea, Samoilova violated the Ukrainian government’s regulation dated June 4, 2015, which stipulates that foreign citizens should receive a special permission in order to enter Crimea.
The European Broadcasting Union said that it was deeply disappointed in Kiev’s decision to ban Russian contestant from entering Ukraine.
EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre forwarded a letter to the Ukrainian prime minister saying that "should we not be able to find an agreeable solution to this matter, it will without doubt place the future participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest under threat." The Supervisory Board of Ukraine’s National Public Broadcasting Company, in turn, said that the EBU should refrain from interfering in Kiev’s interior affairs and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.
The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest semifinals will be held in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9 and 11 while the Grand Final will take place on May 13.