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Crimean leader calls on Eurovision participants to boycott contest in Kiev

Crimea's head Sergey Aksyonov believes Ukraine should be stripped of its right to host Eurovision
Crimea's head Sergey Aksyonov Artyom Korotayev/TASS
Crimea's head Sergey Aksyonov
© Artyom Korotayev/TASS

SIMFEROPOL, March 23. /TASS/. Vocalists participating in the Eurovision Song Contest should boycott the contest held in Kiev in the wake of Ukraine’s decision to ban entry to Russia's contestant, Yulia Samoilova, Crimea's head Sergey Aksyonov wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday.

"I believe after this decision every decent person, including Eurovision participants themselves, should boycott the contest held in Kiev. Ukraine should be stripped of its right to host it. That would be fair and appropriate," Aksyonov wrote.

According to the Crimean premier, by making such a decision regarding Samoilova, "The Ukrainian authorities once again demonstrated to the entire world their total insanity and complete lack of any notions of morality, honor and conscience." "One cannot deal with such people," Aksyonov stressed.

"Meanwhile, I invite Yulia to come to Russia’s Crimea more often," he added.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s intelligence agency, the SBU, slapped a ban on Yulia Samoilova prohibiting the handicapped Russian vocalist from entering Ukraine for three years. SBU Spokeswoman Yelena Gitlyanskaya said the decision was made on the basis of evidence that Samoilova had violated Ukrainian laws. Kiev’s spy agency 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. Commenting on the move, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the current Ukrainian regime demonstrated its weakness and real attitude towards European values.

On March 12, it was announced that wheelchair-bound Yulia Samoilova had been chosen to represent Russia at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.

A total of 43 countries are expected to take part in Eurovision this year. Semifinals will be held in Kiev on May 9 and 11, while the Grand Finale will take place on May 13.