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Ukraine: Eurovision Backtracks As Russia Will Be Banned From Performing At Contest

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Ukraine: Eurovision Backtracks As Russia Will Be Banned From Performing At Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest has done a U-turn on its plans to allow Russia to take part in the competition following its invasion of Ukraine.

Organisers of the long-running competition released a statement on Twitter to announce the new decision today, February 25, one day after Vladimir Putin announced an attack on Ukraine.

It comes after Eurovision announced plans yesterday to welcome artists from both Russia and Ukraine in this year's event, which is set to take place in May.

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 Eurovision logo at night located in Ukraine (Alamy)
Eurovision logo at night located in Ukraine (Alamy)

The initial decision was based on the argument that Eurovision is a 'non-political cultural event which unites nations and celebrates diversity through music', though the announcement received backlash from members of the public given the conflict which began in Ukraine yesterday.

Organisers of the event assured yesterday they would 'of course will continue to monitor the situation closely', and today's statement explained that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) made a decision to prevent any Russian acts from participating in this year's event following 'a recommendation early today by the Eurovision Song Contest's governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU.'

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It continued: 'The decision reflects concern that, in the light of unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year's Content would bring the competition into disrepute. Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.

'We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage,' it concluded.

The news will no doubt be welcomed by Ukrainian state broadcaster UA:PBC, which urged the EBU yesterday to suspend Russia's membership from Eurovision and ban the country from this year's contest as a result of the Russian advances against Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin (Alamy)
Vladimir Putin (Alamy)
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According to Sky News, the broadcaster claimed Russian television networks have been a 'mouthpiece for the Kremlin' and a 'key tool of political propaganda' to assist in the 'systematic dissemination of disinformation' against Ukraine; factors which are 'contrary' to the values of the EBU.

This year's Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place in Turin, Italy after rock act Maneskin were crowned the winners in last year's competition.

Russia had not announced an act to take place in the competition prior to the news of it being banned.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Music, Film and TV, Entertainment, Russia, Ukraine

Emily Brown
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