Ukrainian government bans Russian Eurovision singer

[alert type=yellow ]UPDATE: The EBU have called everyone’s bluff and said Julia may perform via satellite link, read more here.[/alert]

The Government of Ukraine has banned the Russian singer, Julia Samoilova, from entering Ukraine for three years. The decision comes after she admitted breaking Ukrainian laws and entering the disputed Crimean peninsula via an unapproved route in 2015.

This means she will be unable to perform at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.

Here was how the day played out:

Latest at 1355 GMT – A news agency in Russia reports that C1R will “boycott future Eurovisions” if the ban is upheld.  They are also quoting a member of the Duma who states that “The leadership of Eurovision is silent.  It is entirely politicised and with political bias”

Latest at 14.29 GMT – The EBU issued the following statement

It has been confirmed to the EBU that the Ukrainian authorities have issued a travel ban on the Russian artist chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest, Julia Samoylova, as she has been judged to have contravened Ukrainian law by entering Crimea in order to perform. 

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.”

Latest at 15:19 GMT – Responding to the ban, Russian state TV’s Channel One said in a statement: “Ukraine didn’t even have the common sense to make use of this opportunity to look like a civilised country.”

Latest at 16:14 GMT – Statement issued by host broadcaster UA:PBC:

“The National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine as the Host broadcaster of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, is and will continue to implement the decisions of the Government of Ukraine, including the decision of SBU, to prohibit the entry to Ukraine, to the citizen of the Russian Federation, Julia Samoilova. However, we announce that the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, continue in intensive mode.”

Latest at 17:28 GMT – Donald Trump maintains radio silence.

Latest at 17:38 GMT – The press office of Channel 1 in Russia apparently tells news site, that Julia Samoilova will represent Russia in Eurovision in 2018 if she remains banned this year. No official confirmation of this stance issued.

Latest at 20:00 GMT- Philipp Kirkorov issues a statement that is recorded by C1R:

“As an artist, as a producer, as a person that has supported and promoted Eurovision more than anyone else, I am shocked with the decision of Ukraine’s security service.

The Eurovision Song Contest started after the 2nd world war as an international competition that would bring countries and their citizens together through music.

The Russian national broadcaster, despite the fear of a provocation, took the decision to send Yulia Samoylova to perform for our country, respecting not only the format of the competition, but also the main theme of Ukrainian organisers which for this year is “celebrating diversity”.

Unfortunately the Ukrainian secret services didn’t do the same.

What remains to be seen is if the EBU will protect the main idea of this competition. After all it is their responsibility.

If not I strongly believe that Russia should withdraw from the competition until the moment that all those responsible resign and the format will again find the reason it was created. ”

Update: 23 March 2017 at 13:25 GMT – Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand was interviewed by Swedish Radio. He noted that the EBU have yet to receive official notification from the Ukrainian authorities.  He anticipates the matter being referred for a final decision to the Ukrainian PM and President. Talks continue with the authorities in the hope Julia may yet get to perform. When asked if she might be able to compete live via a link from Moscow, Sand said the EBU have yet to rule anything out. (With thanks to Kris Boswell at

Update: 23 March 2017 at 14:53 GMT – The EBU have offered Russian TV the option of broadcasting their entry via a link-up into Kiev. See more here.

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7 years ago

There is a saying in Hebrew:You eat on Saturday the dish you have cooked on Friday.
The EBU started cooking this in 2016 when they allowed the Ukrainian song to enter the contest and now we all have to eat it. And it stinks and uneatable.

I suspect that Russia knew that this may happen as they are aware about the Ukrainian law and deliberately have chosen the singer in order to see how this will play out.
Again they are having a top PR day and found the way to withdraw without paying a fine.