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Eurovision broadcaster condemns Ukraine's travel ban on Russian contestant

April 13, 21:46 UTC+3 GENEVA

"We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this," the European Broadcasting Union senior official says

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© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

GENEVA, April 13. /TASS/. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) condemns the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Russian Eurovision contestant Yulia Samoilova, but preparations for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest continue, the EBU said in a statement.

"We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this," EBU Senior Communications Officer Dave Goodman told TASS when asked to comment on Russia’s Channel One’s decision to cancel the broadcast of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.

Frank Dieter Freiling, Chair of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the event’s steering committee, said: "We strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to impose a travel ban on Yulia Samoilova as we believe it thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest and its mission to bring all nations together in friendly competition." "However, preparations continue apace for the Eurovision Song Contest in the host city Kyiv. Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest with our Member UA:PBC (Ukraine’s National Public Broadcasting Company) in May," he added.

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.

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