Russia banned from 2022 Eurovision Song Contest after Putin invades Ukraine

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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced no Russian acts will be allowed to participate in this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

The Eurovision organisers said allowing Russia to compete in the annual song contest would "bring the competition into disrespute" – following the nation's attacks on Ukraine.

It comes after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday (February23), which has seen explosions in cities across the country as well as airstrikes, with troops reportedly entering the border by land and sea.

The EBU's statement reads: "The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced that no Russian act will participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

"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 organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service.

The bosses concluded: "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."

The 66th Eurovision is scheduled to take place in Turin in May – after Italy's rock band Maneskin won the competition last year.

Eurovision bosses had previously insisted Russia should still be allowed to take part in the European music show, calling it a "non-political cultural event".

Ukranian broadcaster UA:PBC had been campaigning for Russia to be kicked out of the competition.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has faced a furious backlash from leaders around the world – including the UK and US who have pushed sanctions on Russia.

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