Kyiv will not allow Russian journalists who visited Crimea to attend the Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine will not let Russian journalists accredited to attend the Eurovision Song Contest enter the country if they are found to have visited the Crimea, stated the Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, on his Facebook page.

"No Russian journalists who are covering the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv who has previously violated the state border of Ukraine by illegally visiting the Ukrainian Crimea will be admitted into the country," he wrote, commenting on the refusal to allow a photographer from Rossiya Segodnya (Russian Today), Ramil Sitdikov, to enter Ukraine.

"The first one leaves! Back to the north, along Lolita Milyavskaya’s beaten track," Gerashchenko added.

Earlier on April 6th, the head of the United Directorate of Russia Today’s visual editorial staff, Alexander Shtol, stated that the journalist was turned away from Kyiv. "In about an hour, the decision was made to refuse his entry. His accreditation was received in accordance with the required process," Shtol explained.

Russian singer Lolita Milyavskaya was removed from a train and returned to Russia on April 23rd. The artist stated that she is not eligible to enter Ukraine due to her "visiting Kerch in 2015."

The conflict over the Eurovision Song Contest arose after Ukrainian authorities banned the entry of the Russian participant in the contest, Yuliya Samoylova, into the country, accusing her of illegally visiting the Crimea. The organizers of the contest tried to exert pressure on Kyiv, but this did not lead to any change in the decision. The head of the competition, Frank-Dieter Freiling, promised that sanctions would be imposed not only on Ukraine, but on Russia as well, since after the refusal to admit Samoylova into the country, Russian Channel One decided not to broadcast the competition.

The question of sanctions will be decided at a meeting of the organizing committee on June 12th. Among the possible options provided by the statute of the European Broadcasting Union, there are fines, loss of sponsorship, and suspension from participation in the competition for up to three years.

  Ukraine, Russia, Eurovision, Crimea