CNN — A performer representing the Russian country will be allowed to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, organizers announced Thursday.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event,” said a statement provided to CNN by Eurovision. “EBU [European Broadcasting Union] is however concerned about the current events in Ukraine and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Ukraine had asked the European Broadcasting Union to ban Russia from participating in the contest in light of the invasion, according to a statement translated by NPR. The request was made in a letter which primarily asked the EBU to remove Russian media from the association.
Russia has not yet chosen a performer to participate in the competition. They have until mid-March to do so, according to the Eurovision website.
Just a few days ago, rap group Kalush Orchestra was selected to represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest, which will take place in Turin, Italy, in May.
In a statement, Kalush Orchestra lead singer Oleh Psiuk said in a statement: “We promise every Ukrainian that we will respect your choice. In difficult times for our country, we will make our presence known around the world. .”
The group finished second in the Ukrainian national final and won the public vote. They were eventually selected to replace Alina Pash, who dropped out of the contest amid controversy over a trip she took to Russian-controlled Crimea.
The CEO of Swedish Eurovision broadcaster SVT, Hanna Stjärne, has called on Eurovision to reconsider its decision to allow Russian participation.
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