Russia says it won't broadcast Eurovision Song Contest

After their entrant was banned from entering host country Ukraine, Russia pulls out of Eurovision, increasing already strained tensions between the two countries. The contestants are singers from the 43 countries that make up the European Broadcasting Union.

The contest, known for its kitsch but catchy pop songs, is avowedly politically neutral.

Over the six decades of the competition there has been peace, war and the fall of the Berlin Wall - but this year politics has gripped Eurovision in a more brazen fashion than ever.

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest semifinals will be held in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on May 9 and 11 while the Grand Finale will take place on May 13.

And of course, who could forget the Russian grannies singing Party For Everybody and coming second in 2012? This led to fame, as she was elected to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reaffirmed the ban, saying his country acted consistently towards all who entered Crimea without asking Ukraine's permission.

According to the EBU two solutions were offered to Russia's Eurovision broadcast partner, Channel One and both were vetoed.

In 2009, the EBU rejected Georgia's entry, called We Don't Wanna Put In. The proposals were for Ms Samoilova to perform via satellite from Russian Federation or for another contestant to be allowed to travel to Ukraine to take her place.

Channel One, Russia's TV network, rejected both options and announced they won't broadcast this year's the competition. "I think I will adopt the routine which was used in the last two Eurovision Song Contests where we basically all stood in a circle, holding hands and singing a former Israeli Eurovision song, before going insane and dancing to it!"

The organizers of Eurovision-2017 say that there will be the longest ever red carpet during the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv this year. The song caused consternation in Moscow as it was about the deportation of Crimean Tatars, an ethnic group.

  • Kyle Peterson