23/03/2017 11:35 GMT | Updated 23/03/2017 14:36 GMT

Eurovision 2017: Ukraine Bans Russian Entrant Julia Samoilova

As if the Song Contest wasn't already political enough...

Ukraine has banned Russian Eurovision entrant, Julia Samoilova, from performing at this year’s Song Contest. 

The singer has been barred from entering the country because of a previous visit she made to Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

It has been reported (via BBC News) that Julia contravened Ukrainian law by entering Crimea directly from Russia in order to perform there.

Russian Eurovision entrant Julia Samoilova has been banned from Eurovision

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which founded Eurovision, confirmed Ukrainian authorities had issued a travel ban on Julia. 

They said they were “deeply disappointed” in a statement addressing the story. 

“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,” they said.

“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.”

Julia was chosen to represent Russia with the song ‘Flame is Burning’. 

Meanwhile, the UK will be represented by former ‘X Factor’ star Lucie Jones, with her song ‘Never Give Up On You’. 

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Kyiv on 14 May. 

UPDATE: The EBU has offered Russia the chance for Julia to perform in the contest via satellite. 

A spokesperson said: “The EBU has been working hard to find a solution to this situation and has taken the unprecedented move to offer Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to still participate in this year’s Contest by performing live in the 2nd Semi Final via satellite.

“Should the Russian entry qualify for the Grand Final the same solution would apply. This is something that has never been done before in the Contest’s 60 year history but, in the spirit of Eurovision’s values of inclusivity, and this year’s theme of Celebrate Diversity, the decision has been taken to ensure that all 43 entrants are given the opportunity to participate.”

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