Eurovision Song Contest hosts Ukraine have banned Russia’s entrant, Yuliya Samoylova, from entering the country to take part in the 2017 competition.
The Ukrainian security services, SBU, said the singer and composer was not allowed to enter the country because of a 2015 performance she had given in Crimea, a territory annexed by Russia.
“The Security Service of Ukraine has banned Yuliya Samoilova from entry for three years,” Ukrainian security services (SBU) said, according to Sky News.
Olena Gitlanska, a spokesperson for the SBU revealed via her Facebook page that the service has banned Samoylova “on the basis of information received about her violation of Ukrainian law”.
That violation appears to be Samoylova’s decision to enter Crimea, which was annexed in 2014, without crossing through the Ukrainian border.
The singer and composer’s road to Eurovision has already been rocky. Her participation was announced just one day before the deadline, a move which seemed to anger the Ukrainian hosts.
Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Brygynets said Russia was “hiding behind a disabled person”, when wheelchair user Samoylova was announced as the country’s entrant.
“This is yet another outrageous, cynical and inhumane act by the Kiev authorities,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the Interfax news agency.
With at least 140 more Russian artists already blacklisted, it remains to be seen whether Russia can come up with a new contestant in time for the contest on May 13th.