Russia excluded from Eurovision Song Contest after invading Ukraine

Russia will not take part in Eurovision.
Russia will not take part in Eurovision.

Russia will no longer participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest following its invasion of Ukraine, the competition’s producer has announced.

Earlier this week it was announced that Russia would be able to take part, with organisers saying the contest was a "non-political cultural event”.

But the decision was reversed amid mounting pressure from other countries including Finland and Estonia, who said they were prepared to withdraw if Russia was allowed to take part. State broadcasters from Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands had also called for Russia to be banned from competing.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has now said in a statement that the inclusion of a Russian entry at the 2022 event in Turin would bring the contest into "disrepute".

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The EBU said: “The Executive Board of the EBU made the decision following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU.

“The Reference Group recommendation was also supported by the EBU’s Television Committee. The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute.

"Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership.

“The EBU is an apolitical member organisation of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service. We remain dedicated to protecting the values of a cultural competition which promotes international exchange and understanding, brings audiences together, celebrates diversity through music and unites Europe on one stage.”

Earlier, Finland's public broadcaster YLE had said it was “ready to withdraw" if the EBU didn't change its decision.

And Erik Roose, chairman of the board of Estonian broadcaster ERR said it was "inconceivable" that Estonia would participate if Russia was taking part.

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The 66th edition of Eurovision is due to take place in Turin after Italian rock band Maneskin won the 2021 contest.

Additional reporting from PA.

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