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Eurovision broadcaster warns banning Russian singer will damage Ukraine's reputation

According to the EBU director general, the current situation is causing anger amongst the union's members

GENEVA, March 31. /TASS/. Kiev’s decision to ban Russian Eurovision contestant Yulia Samoilova from entering Ukraine will have a very big negative impact on Ukraine’s international reputation, European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Director General Ingrid Deltenre said in a letter to Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman.

EBU Senior Communications officer Dave Goodman confirmed to TASS that the letter had been forwarded to the Ukrainian authorities.

"We ask you to intervene and ensure that the Russian artist can enter Ukraine in May to participate," the letter says. "Should this ban be confirmed by your office, it would certainly have a very big negative impact on Ukraine’s international reputation as a modern, democratic European nation," Deltenre wrote. "Needless to say that we are also very concerned for the damage this will inflict on the Eurovision Song Contest and the European Broadcasting Union."

According to the EBU director general, "the current situation is causing anger amongst our Members - European Broadcasters across Europe - and we have received communication from a number of them criticizing the decision and considering to withdraw from the event." Deltenre pointed out that until now, no country had ever banned anyone from taking part in the contest. "The EBU would not like a precedent to be set in 2017," she stressed.

"Please be aware that should we not be able to find an agreeable solution to this matter, it will without doubt place the future participation of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest under threat," the EBU director general concluded.

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.

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest semifinals will be held in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9 and 11 while the Grand Final will take place on May 13.