Russia’s banned Eurovision contestant could perform at the show via satellite link, organisers say.
Julia Samoilova has been banned from Ukraine, hosting this year’s contest, for entering annexed Crimea via Russia.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said the competition had to “remain free from politics”. A satellite link would be a first in Eurovision’s 60-year-history, they added.
The Kremlin had called for a rethink of Ukraine’s decision.
Samoilova is due to take part in the second semi-final. If she gets through to the final, she could also perform at that via live satellite link.
Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of Eurovision, said organisers were talking to Ukrainian authorities “with the ambition to have all artists present” in host city Kiev for May’s contest.
He said: “It is imperative that the Eurovision Song Contest remains free from politics and as such, due to the circumstances surrounding Julia’s travel ban, we have felt it important to propose a solution that transcends such issues.
“We have offered Channel One Russia the opportunity for Julia to perform live via satellite as it is the EBU’s intention that every broadcaster that has chosen to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest does so, as has been the case for all previous events in the contest’s history.”
Frank-Dieter Freiling, chairman of the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, said he hoped Ukraine would not enforce the travel ban and would instead “find a solution in line with the contest’s slogan, celebrate diversity”.
Who is Julia Samoilova?
- The singer-songwriter was born in April 1989 in Ukhta, Russia
- Her song Flame is Burning was composed by Leonid Gutkin, who also produced Russia’s 2013 and 2015 entries
- The Russian entrant has been in a wheelchair since childhood, suffering from spinal muscular atrophy: a neuromuscular disorder causing muscle wastage
- She was a 2013 finalist in Russia’s X Factor competition and performed at the opening ceremony to the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics
Samoilova has said she was “not upset” by Ukraine’s decision.
She told Channel One state-controlled television, which selected her as Russia’s contestant with her song Flame is Burning, that she did not understand why Ukraine saw “some kind of threat in a little girl like me”.
“I will keep going. I somehow think that everything will change,” added Samoilova.
The 27-year-old singer had performed in Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, in 2015.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The decision from our point of view is absolutely unfair, it’s unfortunate. And we hope all the same that it will be reconsidered.”
He said the decision to ban Samoilova “seriously devalues the upcoming contest”.