Eurovision Samoilova: Ukraine bars Russian singer over Crimea visit

Julia Samoilova performs in front of a flaming backdropImage copyright
Channel One Russia/ EVN

Image caption

Samoilova is a former Russian X Factor contestant

Ukraine has barred Russia’s Eurovision contestant because she performed in Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Julia Samoilova was banned from attending the event because of her “illegal” visit , the Ukrainian SBU security service said.

Samoilova, 27, has confirmed that she sang in Crimea in 2015. Ukraine is due to host Eurovision in Kiev, in May.

A Russian foreign ministry source told Ria-Novosti news agency the decision was “cynical and inhuman”.

It quoted a senior Russian politician, Frants Klintsevich, as saying Russia would boycott future Eurovision contests if the organisers failed to stand up for the singer.

The SBU has blacklisted at least 140 other Russian artists.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since the annexation of Crimea and subsequent fighting in east Ukraine, which Moscow is accused of stoking.

Who is Julia Samoilova?

Image copyright
Channel One Russia/ EVN

Image caption

Samoilova was selected just one day before the 13 March deadline for nomination

  • The singer-songwriter was born in April 1989 in Ukhta, Russia
  • Her song Flame is Burning was composed by Leonid Gutkin, who also produced Russia’s 2013 and 2015 entries
  • The Russian entrant has been in a wheelchair since childhood, suffering from spinal muscular atrophy: a neuromuscular disorder causing muscle wastage
  • She was a 2013 finalist in Russia’s X Factor competition and performed at the opening ceremony to the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics

Ukraine is hosting the competition after its singer, Jamala, caused an upset by winning in Sweden last year.

Her song, 1944, was about Joseph Stalin’s mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars during World War Two.

The SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) said earlier it would verify information about Samoilova’s visit to Crimea and take a decision.

Eurovision Samoilova: Ukraine bars Russian singer over Crimea visit

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