Russian contestant Yulia Samoylova, who was banned from performing in Ukraine, sang her Eurovision entry in Crimea in a controversial and politically charged move.
Singers from 42 countries hitting the red carpet in Kiev earlier this week ahead of this weekend's Eurovision song contest. But one nation was noticeably absent - Russia. For the first time in Eurovision history, the host nation barred another country's singer. Russian contestant Yulia Samoylova banished to sing her songs elsewhere. She was barred from entering Ukraine because in 2015 she performed in Crimea - the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia. Now in a controversial and politically charged move, she's performing there again. While the other performers get in some last minute practice on stage, Russia and Ukraine are still trading barbs. Moscow accusing Kiev of breaching the show's rules and discriminating against Samoylova, who's a wheelchair user, calling it a 'cynical and inhuman act'. Ukraine says Samoylova was picked specifically to provoke them and maintains she'll be banned for the next 3 years for violating their laws. Moscow and Kiev have a history of Eurovision battles. Last year's winning song by Jamala was about Stalin-era purges of Crimea. This year again, there's a dash of global geopolitics, in among the razzmatazz.