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Kiev bans Russian wheelchair-bound Eurovision contestant from Ukraine

Ukraine's domestic spy chief said earlier that he "personally supported the ban"
Yulia Samoilova  Maria Antipina/TASS
Yulia Samoilova
© Maria Antipina/TASS

KIEV, March 22. /TASS/. The Ukrainian security service (SBU) has prohibited Russia’s Eurovision-2017 contestant, Yulia Samoilova, from entering the country’s territory for three years, SBU spokeswoman Yelena Gitlyanskaya said on Wednesday.

"The Ukrainian security service has prohibited Yulia Samoilova from entering the territory of Ukraine for three years. The decision was made on the basis of evidence she had violated Ukrainian legislation," Gitlyanskaya said on Facebook.

Earlier, Aleksandr Tkachuk, the chief of staff of the SBU’s director, said the SBU was aware of the consequences of the decision to either allow Samoilova to enter the country or prohibit her from doing so. Permission would trigger strong protests from Ukrainian radicals, and a ban, a negative reaction from Russia.

The semifinals of the Eurovision music contest will be held in Kiev on May 9 and 11, and the final, on May 13. Representatives of 43 countries will participate. Wheelchair-bound woman vocalist Yulia Samoilova was to represent Russia.

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 when she performed a song called Together. Yulia has been using a wheel chair since she was a child.

The Ukrainian security service says that by participating in a concert in Crimea in the summer of 2015 Samoilova violated a special resolution of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers requiring all foreigners are to obtain special permission from Ukraine to visit the peninsula. 

EU monitoring the matter 'closely' 

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is monitoring the situation concerning the Ukrainian Security Service’s decision to ban Russian Eurovision contestant Yulia Samoilova from entering the country, EBU Senior Communications Officer Dave Goodman told TASS on Wednesday.

"The EBU understands and respects the laws of Ukraine, and this matter has to be handled by the authorities, who we have had a good dialogue with since June," he said. "We have had previous assurances from the Ukrainian authorities that, in the spirit of the event, all those who wish to attend the ESC and who pose no threat will be free to do so and their safety will be guaranteed."

"Therefore, we fully expect that a solution can be found so that every delegation can come to Ukraine to participate. We are monitoring the situation and are waiting to hear from the authorities as to their final decision," Goodman added.