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Eurovision broadcaster eyeing ban on Kiev from song contest over ‘unacceptable behavior’

March 29, 16:45 UTC+3 GENEVA

If no solution is found in the coming days, the European Broadcasting Union’s chief may announce sanctions against Ukraine

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Draw ceremony of Eurovision 2017 song contest semifinals in Kiev, Ukraine

Draw ceremony of Eurovision 2017 song contest semifinals in Kiev, Ukraine

© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

GENEVA, March 29. /TASS/. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) may slap sanctions on Ukraine banning it from the Eurovision Song Contest over its decision to deny entry to Russian disabled singer Yulia Samoilova, Swiss tabloid Blick reported citing EBU’s chief Ingrid Deltenre.

"This behavior of Ukraine is absolutely unacceptable," Deltenre told Blick. The EBU Director General is in talks with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman and President Pyotr Poroshenko to find a "satisfactory" solution.

"I deeply regret the fact that the Eurovision Song Contest is being abused for political action. The Eurovision Song Contest is supposed to delight and bring together millions of people; it must not be used to incite them against each other," she said.

If no solution is found in the coming days, the EBU’s chief may announce sanctions against Ukraine, namely banning it from taking part in the contest, according to the paper.

A week ago, Ukraine’s Security Service banned the handicapped Russian vocalist from entering Ukraine for three years. The decision was made on the basis of evidence that Samoilova had violated Ukrainian laws. Kiev’s security service argues that, by performing in Crimea in the summer of 2015, Samoilova had violated the Ukrainian government’s resolution saying that all foreign visitors should obtain special permission to visit the peninsula. Some Russia’s public and cultural figures said Moscow should challenge Ukraine’s decision in international courts.

The EBU said in response it was disappointed with Ukrainian authorities’ decision but said it still hoped a compromise solution could be found. Later on, it made public a suggestion, in line with which Channel One could transmit Samoilova’s performance live via satellite from Moscow. The state-run TV channel, which broadcasts the show in Russia, turned down the offer. Kiev followed suit, saying the performance broadcast via satellite link would violate Ukrainian law.

Ukraine will host the Eurovision Song Contest in May. Ukraine’s singer Jamala won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest held in Stockholm with the song called "1944". Singers from 43 countries are due to compete in the glitzy show. Semifinals will be held in Kiev on May 9 and 11 and the Grand Final is scheduled for May 13.

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