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Ukraine forbids Russian Eurovision contestant to perform via satellite

The European Broadcasting Union was disappointed with Ukrainian authorities’ decision and urged Kiev to find a compromise solution

KIEV, March 23. /TASS/. Russia's live presentation in the Eurovision song contest by Yuliya Samoilova, whom the Ukrainian state security service (SBU) has banned from traveling to Ukraine, would mean an encroachment on the national legislation, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kirilenko twittered on Thursday.

"Transmission of Samoilova’s performance via satellite would be as much a violation of Ukrainian laws as her entry of Ukraine," he wrote. "The EBU [European Broadcasting Union] should take account of the fact."

The EBU came up with a proposal earlier on Thursday, under which Russia’s Channel One would organize a live transmission of wheelchair-bound Samoilova’s performance via satellite.

"Taking into consideration that this ban might be upheld by the Ukrainian authorities, and in order to maintain the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU has been working hard to find a solution to this situation and has taken the unprecedented move to offer Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia [Yuliya Samoilova] to still participate in this year’s Contest by performing live in the 2nd Semi Final via satellite," the EBU said in a statement.

"Should the Russian entry qualify for the Grand Final the same solution would apply," the broadcasting association said.

"This is something that has never been done before in the Contest’s 60 year history but, in the spirit of Eurovision’s values of inclusivity, and this year’s theme of Celebrate Diversity, the decision has been taken to ensure that all 43 entrants are given the opportunity to participate," the EBU said.

"We are continuing our dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the ambition to have all artists present to perform in host city, Kyiv, which is, of course, our preferred option," the association quoted Jon Ola Sand, Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor.

"It is imperative that the Eurovision Song Contest remains free from politics and as such, due to the circumstances surrounding Julia’s travel ban, we have felt it important to propose a solution that transcends such issues," he said. "We have offered Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to perform live via satellite as it is the EBU’s intention that every broadcaster that has chosen to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest does so, as has been the case for all previous events in the contest’s history."

On Wednesday, the SBU banned Samoilova’s traveling to Ukraine for a period of three years under the pretext she allegedly encroached on a resolution by the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers on the mandatory obtaining of special permits for visits to Crimea when she performed there in the summer of 2015.

The EBU said in response it was disappointed with Ukrainian authorities’ decision but said it still hoped a compromise solution could be found.

The semi-finals of the song contest are due to be held in Kiev on May 9 and May 11 and the final - on May 13.