Security Service of Ukraine, SBU, says, that Yulia Samoylova is banned for attending Eurovision because she has performed on the peninsula Crimea in 2015 – which is a violation of Ukrainian law. The peninsula Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014. Russia and Ukraine is in an armed conflict where Russia supports rebel groups in Ukraine.
The 27-year-old Yulia Samoylova has been refused entry into Ukraine the next three years. Security Service of Ukraine, SBU, has blacklisted at least 140 other Russian artists.
Samoylova should have competed in Semi-final 2 with the song "Flame is burning".
It is the first time ever, since the beginning of Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, that a host country refuses an artist from a participating country to access the contest.
We have to respect the local laws of the host country, however we are deeply disappointed in this decision as we feel it goes against both the spirit of the Contest, and the notion of inclusivity that lies at the heart of its values.
We will continue a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities with the aim of ensuring that all artists can perform at the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv in May.
Some suspect this is precisely what Moscow wanted when it chose Yulia Samoylova, knowing that she had travelled to Crimea.
The spokesperson for the foreign ministry in Russia, Grigory Karasin, calls the decision outrageous, cynical and inhumane. A member of parliament demands that the contest is moved to another country while a second warns that Russia will boycott every Eurovision to come unless organisers intervene to resolve this.
Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavel Klimkin, has earlier called Russia's choice of artist for "a provocation".
On Monday the head of the SBU, Vasyl Hrytsak, said that:
– The law should be one for all – she did not just visit Crimea, she also left comments on social networks, where she spoke about Ukraine, its authorities and its course for Euro-Atlantic integration" he said.
– My own position is clear: I think she should not come to Ukraine.
Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of Eurovision Song Contest, commented the controversy between Russia and Ukraine last week:
– We fully understand and respect the laws of Ukraine, but the European broadcasting Union (EBU) has no objections to the Russian delegation and not see any violations on their part. We want all countries to participate, but the decision is of the Ukrainian government, and we will respect it.
What will happen now?
This clearly puts Russia's participation at Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in jeopardy: Will they chose another artist to represent Russia, or will they simply stay away from Ukraine? It appears very unlikely that Russia will attend the contest in now.
The Public Broadcaster of Ukraine UA:PBC has issued a statement regarding SBU's decision to ban Yulia:
Recall that Yulia Samoylova – is a singer who was chosen to represent Channel 1 – of the Russian Federation at Eurovision 2017
Several Russian medias reported yesterday, that the Armenian singer Artsvik (Artsvik Arutyunyan) is also being investigated for traveling to Crimea after the annexation, but there are no official comments or statements regarding Artsvik.
Yulia Samoylova (27) was born in Ukhta, Komi Republic of Russia. She has won several music competitions in Russia and international.
In 2014 she sang the song "Together" at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Since 1994 Russia has participated 20 times in Eurovision Song Contest. They won the contest in 2008 with the song "Believe" performed by Dima Bilan. The last 5 years Russia finished in top 10, and have never ended last in the competition.
Russia is the only country who has qualified for the Grand Final every single year since the introduction of the semi-finals back in 2004!