Ukraine faces fine over Eurovision delays, decision to bar Russian entrant

Ukraine faces fine over Eurovision delays, decision to bar Russian entrant
Ukraine is to pay a hefty fine because of severe delays in the organization of the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as Kiev’s decision to bar the Russian entrant from the competition.

The Ukrainian National Broadcasting Company has been notified of the fine, AFP reported, citing a representative of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union). 

The Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev was marred by a row between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow boycotted the event after singer Yulia Samoylova, who was set to represent Russia, was denied entry due to a previous performance in Crimea. Russia’s Channel One refused to broadcast Eurovision.

"As a result of this, attention was drawn away from the competition and the brand reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest was endangered," the EBU said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

The organization added that the contest’s steering committee “has recommended that UA:PBC [Ukraine's state broadcaster] should receive a substantial fine, in line with the rules of the competition.”

The EBU did not specify the exact sum Kiev will be required to pay.

Ukrainian authorities have already declared they are going to appeal the EBU decision, with the fines for similar breaches reaching €200,000 (US$228,000), according to the chairman of the country’s National Public Broadcasting Company, Zurab Alasaniya.

"Formally, it wasn't us who made the decision not to allow [the Russian singer], but I don't think that the SBU [State Security Service] or the government will want to take part in this," Alasaniya told Reuters.

According to Alasaniya, the EBU was considering was suspending Ukrainian participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, RIA Novosti reported.

At the same time, the organization will not sanction Russia’s Channel One over its refusal to broadcast the song contest. A warning will be issued, though, for the channel not visiting the mandatory meeting of delegation heads, the EBU told RIA Novosti.