Russia’s state-controlled television has rejected Eurovision’s offer to let their contestant perform via satellite after she was banned from entering Ukraine.
The Ukrainian security services, SBU, said the singer and composer Yuliya Samoilova was not allowed to enter the country because of a 2015 performance she had given in Crimea, a territory annexed by Russia.
Russia’s Channel One said that the offer for Samoilova to perform in the event in Ukraine remotely was “weird”.
“We find the proposal on a remote-access participation in the contest to be weird enough and do not accept it,” Channel One said in a statement on Thursday quoted by Tass news agency, adding that it “counters the very essence of the event.”
The offer to perform in the competition via satellite link is a first in Eurovision’s 60-year-history, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said according to the BBC, adding that the contest had to “remain free from politics”.
Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of Eurovision, said that organisers were talking to Ukrainian authorities “with the ambition to have all artists present” in host city Kiev for May’s contest.
He said, “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.”
Frank-Dieter Freiling, chairman of the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, said he hoped Ukraine would not enforce the travel ban and would instead “find a solution in line with the contest’s slogan, celebrate diversity”.