Speed Reads


Russia banned from 2022 Eurovision Song Contest over Ukraine invasion

Russia has been banished from the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. 

The European Broadcasting Union announced Friday that "no Russian act will participate" in the annual song competition in light of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The announcement said this decision was made after a recommendation from the Eurovision Song Contest's governing body and Reference Group. 

"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," the EBU said. "Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership." 

The contest drew criticism when earlier reports suggested Russia would still be allowed to compete in this year's competition, which is scheduled for May, despite launching an attack against Ukraine that has so far left more than 130 Ukrainians dead. "The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event," organizers told CNN. "The EBU is however concerned about current events in Ukraine and will continue to closely monitor the situation." 

But according to NPR, Ukraine's public broadcast network UA:PBC wrote an open letter to the EBU asking for Russia's competitor to be removed this year and for Russian media to be banned because it is a "mouthpiece for the Kremlin and a key tool of political propaganda financed from the Russian state budget." 

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee on Friday urged international federations to "relocate or cancel" any sporting events scheduled to take place in Russia or Belarus, as "they should take the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarussian governments into account and give the safety and security of the athletes absolute priority."