Ukraine WILL take part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and will pre-record from ‘safe space’

Ukraine have announced they will take part in this year’s Eurovision song contest but won’t attend in person after Vladimir Putin invaded the country.

Folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra took to social media today and said they will pre-record their performance from a ‘safe space’ rather than attend the ceremony in Italy.

Writing on social media, the group said: ‘Despite the fighting, the Kalush Orchestra will record their performance in a safe place, which will be sent to the organizers of the song contest, and in case of our victory over the occupiers by May, our delegation will go to Italy and sing live all over Europe!’ 

It comes as Russia has been banned from taking part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after the country invaded Ukraine.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said that the inclusion of a Russian entry at contest in Turin, Italy, in May would bring the contest into ‘disrepute’.

Eurovision had previously said it intended to allow Russia to compete but faced strong criticism from state broadcasters in countries including Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.

Ukrainian folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra (Pictured) took to social media today and said they will pre-record their performance from a 'safe space' rather than attend the ceremony in Italy

Ukrainian folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra (Pictured) took to social media today and said they will pre-record their performance from a ‘safe space’ rather than attend the ceremony in Italy

It comes as Russia has been banned from taking part in this year's Eurovision Song Contest after the country invaded Ukraine (file image)

It comes as Russia has been banned from taking part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after the country invaded Ukraine (file image)

Kalush Orchestra are rehearsing separately but plan to come together to submit their entry Stefania, which lead singer Oleh Psiuk said was an ‘an anthem for Ukraine’. 

He told Sky News: ‘This song which we have created [Stefania], it’s the anthem for Ukraine and everybody is singing it. Originally, the song was dedicated to my mother, and now it’s the song for all mothers.’  

Psiuk also spoke out about the band helping out on the frontline by supplying medicine and helping refugees flee war-torn towns – with one member fighting in the territorial defense in Kyiv.  

Psiuk added: ‘My girlfriend today was making the Molotov cocktails, and it was the first time she was doing like something like that. It’s very scary for all of us.

‘My day-to-day life has changed. Now I’ve been working with a volunteer team. We are helping people to go far away from Ukraine, to find food for those who need it.’  

Ukraine last won the Eurovision Song Contest back in May 2016, beating Russia with a controversial ballad about Crimean annexation. 

Ukraine last won the Eurovision Song Contest back in May 2016, beating Russia with a controversial ballad about Crimean annexation (Pictured: Singer Jamala)

Ukraine last won the Eurovision Song Contest back in May 2016, beating Russia with a controversial ballad about Crimean annexation (Pictured: Singer Jamala)

Singer Jamala knocked Russia’s Sergey Lazarev into third with her song 1944 – which she dedicated to her great-grandmother and is reportedly about Stalin, Crimea and claims of ethnic cleansing.

After accepting the Eurovision trophy, the 32-year-old declared: ‘I know that you sing a song about peace and love, but actually, I really want peace and love to everyone.’

Following the news last month that Russia were banned from participating, Russian residents will also be blocked from voting in the competition.

‘They are completely excluded from the whole event,’ an EBU spokesman said.

The announcement came after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by Vladimir Putin, in the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

Finland said on Friday it would not send contestants to the final if Russia was allowed to participate. Public broadcasters in Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Norway had all urged the EBU to expel Russia.

Ukraine soldiers inspect the rubble of a destroyed apartment building in Kyiv, as Russian forces continue to bomb the city

Ukraine soldiers inspect the rubble of a destroyed apartment building in Kyiv, as Russian forces continue to bomb the city

A firefighter walks outside a destroyed apartment building after a bombing in a residential area in Kyiv

A firefighter walks outside a destroyed apartment building after a bombing in a residential area in Kyiv

Members of the Territorial Defence Force stand guard at a check point, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, at the Independence Square in central Kyiv

Members of the Territorial Defence Force stand guard at a check point, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, at the Independence Square in central Kyiv

The chairman of Ukraine’s public broadcasting company Suspilne, Mykola Chernotytsky, wrote to the EBU saying that ‘Russia’s participation, as an aggressor and violator of international law, in this year’s Eurovision undermines the very idea of the competition’.

He said Russia’s state broadcaster was a ‘leading element of the Russian government’s information war against Ukraine’.

EBU said it had consulted widely among its membership before reaching the decision.

‘The EBU is an apolitical member organisation of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service,’ its statement stressed.

‘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 Eurovision final, one of the world’s largest televised events, takes place in Turin on May 14 after Italian rock band Maneskin won the 2021 contest.

Russia, which had yet to put forward a contestant this year, has participated 23 times since its first appearance in 1994. It last won in 2008 with Dima Bilan singing Believe, and in turn hosted the 2009 contest in Moscow.

UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said she was ‘glad’ to see Russia had been excluded from the Eurovision Song Contest.

She tweeted: ‘Eurovision stands for freedom, unity and respect between countries – watched and enjoyed by tens of millions around the world. Glad to see Eurovision taking action and kicking Russia out.’

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