As Russia invades Ukraine, the country’s tennis stars have been competing in the Dubai Tennis Championships and the athletes of the Russian Olympic Confederation recently wrapped the 2022 Winter Games. But come May, Russia won’t be represented on the stage at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. The European Broadcasting Union announced on February 25 that Russia will not have an act in the competition — in a reversal from just a day before, when the EBU called Eurovision a “non-political cultural event” and said Russia could compete. “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 in its new statement, which still asserted it was “apolitical.” The contest is set to run May 10–14 in Turin, Italy, the home country of 2021 winners Måneskin.
Per BBC News, Ukranian state network UA:PBC had called for Russia’s dismissal after the first EBU statement, claiming the Russian broadcasters involved in the contest were a “key tool of political propaganda.” Russia had not selected an act to enter in the 2022 contest. Ukraine’s entry will be hip-hop group Kalush Orchestra — a replacement for original entry Alina Pash, a singer who withdrew over attention on a 2015 trip to Crimea, which Russia overtook in 2014. “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 EBU stated.