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 banned another country singer.
Russian contestant, Yulia Samoylova, managed to sing her songs elsewhere. She was barred from entering Ukraine because in 2015, she performed in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia. Now in a controversial and politically charged move. She's performing there again. Reuters Margarita Chornokondratenko, in Kiev says Eurovision did try to ease the tension.
>> It offered two options to the Russia's Channel One, which is state broadcaster for Eurovision. The first option was to choose another contestant to represent Russia at the song contest. And the second option was to broadcast some all of us performance via video link from Moscow. However, Channel One refused to accept any offers and said it would boycott this year's competition.
>> Well, the other performance get in some last minute practice on stage. Russia and Ukraine are still trading Bob's Moscow accusing Kiev of bleaching the show's rules and discriminating against Samoylova, who is in a wheelchair. Ukraine says Samoylova was picked specifically to provoke them, and maintains she'll be banned for the next three years for violating their laws.
>> Jamala, who is the 2016 Eurovision Winner from Ukraine said she expects more provocations from Russia as the grand final is approaching, and she also urged Ukraine to be more cautious, calm and patient and not to get involved into any possible provocations.>> Moscow and Kiev have a history of Eurovision battles.
Last year's winning song by Jamala, was about starling and repurchase of Crimea. This year again, does a dash of global geopolitics, in amongst the Rasmitas.