This afternoon, Twitter was on fire with suggestions that the Bulgarian entrant in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest had visited Crimea - putting him in potential violation of Ukrainian law. Given he's one of the acts tipped to do well, it became big news, with respected agency Reuters picking up the story.
Ukraine refused entry to a Russian singer last month after she confirmed having performed in Crimea without an official permit. Speculation increased when Eurovision spokeswoman Marta Bilas confirmed that contact had been made with the Ukrainian security service (the SBU).
Relax, it's all OK
The fire was quickly put out by Bulgarian TV with the release of a press release.
On June 1, 2014, Kostan Kostov visited Crimea for a few hours as part of the group of participating youths in the musical reality show “The Voice Kids” on Russian public television. The concert, organized by “The Voice Kids”, was dedicated to the International Children’s Day. Kristian Kostov performed two songs – one in English, the other – a Ukrainian song by the famous performer Roden Anousy.
At that time Kristian Kostov was 14 years old and was not accompanied by his parents. No consent was sought for his participation in the concert.
Furthermore, the issue has already been investigated by Ukraine’s State Border Service, who has determined no wrongdoing in Kristian’s case.
Not everyone was so lucky
Ukrainian law enables the government to ban people who have traveled to Crimea without the need to obtain government permission. last year, 140 Russian artists were blacklisted. Two Russian journalists who were accredited by the EBU to cover the contest were detained at the border on May 7 and eventually turned away and barred from entering Ukraine for three years.
Other Russian journalists have been admitted to cover the contest.