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Wheelchair-bound Russian singer getting ready for Eurovision despite ban threats

On Sunday, it was announced that Yulia Samoilova will represent Russia at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Flame is Burning
Yulia Samoilova Maria Antipina/TASS
Yulia Samoilova
© Maria Antipina/TASS

MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. Russian performer Yulia Samoilova, who was chosen to represent Russia at 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine in May, is not thinking about a possible entry ban, but simply rehearses and thinks positively, Yulia’s press secretary Yelena Lagunkina said on Monday.

She spoke in comments on Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin’s saying Yulia Samoilova could possibly be denied entry to Ukraine. Earlier on Monday, the Ukrainian Security Service said it knew that Yulia Samoilova performed in Crimea at the festival "A World of Sports and Kindness" on June 27, 2015.

It says thus the singer violated the ruling of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers of June 4, 2015, under which the foreigners must have special permission to enter Crimea. Klimkin, for his part, called the decision to nominate Samoilova as Russia’s representative to the song contest a provocation.

Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) spokesperson Yelena Gitlyanskaya wrote on her Facebook page that SBU would look into the issue and make the decision on Samoilova’s entry basing "on norms of the Ukrainian law and interests of national security".

"We are not commenting on such things. Yulia is not thinking about it at all. She is getting ready for the performance," her press secretary said. "She is positive-minded," Yelena Lagunkina stressed, adding that the singer was rehearsing to honorably represent the country at the song contest.

She also said Yulia is heading for Finland on Tuesday for a medical check and will return on Friday.

About Yulia Samoilova

Yulia Samoilova was born on April 7, 1989, in the city of Ukhta (the Republic of Komi). In 2013, she was second in the Factor A TV project. She also took part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games with the song called Together. Yulia has been using a wheel chair since she was a child.

On Sunday, it was announced that Yulia Samoilova will represent Russia at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Flame is Burning.

A total of 43 countries will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest this year. Semifinals will be held in the Ukrainian capital on May 9 and 11 while the Grand Final will take place on May 13.

Ukraine’s blacklist

Earlier, the Ukrainian Security Service said it would not lift a ban on entry for Russian performing artists on the so-called ‘blacklist’ for the time when Ukraine will be hosting the song contest. It was made up in August 2015 and now comprises more than 80 cultural figures.

Samoilova is not on the list, but in December 2016 her name was put on the lists released on the Ukrainian "Mirotvorets" (or "Peacemaker") nationalist website which Russia regards as extremist. However, the European Broadcasting Union has repeatedly stressed that all artists should have an opportunity to travel to Ukraine during the Eurovision Contest while the organizers should ensure their safety.