MILAN – Russia will not be allowed to participate in the final of this year’s Eurovision song contest, the organiser said on Friday, after Ukraine and several other European public broadcasters had called for Russia to be expelled.
‘The decision reflects concern that, in the light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute’, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement.
Finland said on Friday it would not send contestants to the final if Russia was allowed to participate. Public broadcasters in Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Norway had all urged the EBU to expel Russia.
Russian military forces on Thursday began an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, prompting the imposition of economic sanctions by Western powers, as well as the withdrawal of major international sporting events from Russia.
The Eurovision final, one of the world’s largest televised events, takes place in Tuin, Italy on May 14.