Finland and Estonia will pull out of Eurovision Song Contest if Russia takes part

·2-min read
Russia is allowed to participate in the 'Eurovision Song Contest'. (Eurovision)
Russia is allowed to participate in the 'Eurovision Song Contest'. (Eurovision)

Finland and Estonia have both indicated that they will withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest if Russia is allowed to take part.

Eurovision organisers have been blasted for saying Russia can still participate despite the country’s invasion of Ukraine, with critics saying the country should be excluded or the event should be called off entirely.

Two countries - Finland and Estonia - have now both said they are prepared to skip the contest in May.

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Finland's public broadcaster YLE has said it is “ready to withdraw" if the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) doesn't change its decision.

Ville Vilen, its director of creative content and media unit, said: "Russia's attack on Ukraine is contrary to all the values that Yle and other European broadcasters represent. Yle always defends Western democracy, the rule of law, freedom of expression and human dignity.

"Yle cannot take part in an event where Russia, which has blatantly attacked these values, can use one of Europe's best-known brands to advance its own interests. I hope that the EBU will act in accordance with its values here."

Estonian broadcaster ERR has also said it will withdraw if Russia is allowed to compete.

Erik Roose, chairman of the board, said: “Obviously, it is inconceivable that Estonia will participate in Eurovision in a situation where Russia participates there, but in this case Ukraine will not.

"Our colleagues from other Baltic countries will apparently share this view.

"We will continue to communicate with the EBU as the organiser of the song contest.”

Watch: Eurovision: Russia allowed to compete in song contest despite invading Ukraine

It was announced earlier this week that Russia would still be allowed to participate, despite launching a military assault on Ukraine.

Organisers said the song contest was a non-political cultural event” and that it would include entries from both Russia and Ukraine.

However, the announcement came under fire from many fans of the annual event.

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Stephen Fry was among those to comment, tweeting a link to the news and writing: “Excuse ME? Wh …? I mean …? Huh?”

The Eurovision Song Contest is due to take place in Turin in May.

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