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European Broadcasting Union hopes 'all 43 contestants will take part' in Eurovision

April 10, 21:31 UTC+3 GENEVA

On March 22, the Ukrainian Security Council issued a three-year entry ban against Russian participant Yulia Samoilova

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GENEVA, April 10. /TASS/. The European Broadcasting Union expects that contestants from all 43 countries, including Russia, will take part in the 2017 Eurovision song contest hosted by Kiev, and is making every effort towards that, EBU spokesman David Goodman told TASS on Monday.

"We are making every effort to find a solution to this issue which enables all 43 broadcasters to take part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest," David Goodman said in comments on Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kirilenko’s Monday interview, where he said the contest will probably be held without Russia, whose singer was earlier barred from Ukraine for three years.

"Our top priority is to stage a spectacular event which will be enjoyed by around 200 million viewers in May. Preparations are well underway, and will continue, for this year’s Contest in Kyiv and we look forward to welcoming all delegations to this year’s host city in a few weeks’ time," the spokesman said.

In an interview with Ukrainian Obozrevatel online edition, Kirilenko said Kiev’s banning entry for Russian participant Yulia Samoilova was "a principled position". "Nobody can demand that we violate our own legislation in order to please Russia," the deputy prime minister said.

"And this means that we will hold the context with the participation of 42 countries and not 43," he said, expressing confidence that the EBU will understand Kiev’s stance.

He also said that if the issue of sanctions against Ukraine is brought up after the song context, Kiev will offer additional explanations on the situation.

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.

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