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Ukraine pulls out of Eurovision Song Contest 2019
2019-02-28 14:26:54

Ukraine has pulled out of this year's Eurovision Song Contest after its selection process became embroiled in political tensions involving Russia.

Pop singer Maruv, who won Ukraine's public vote, withdrew from the contest on Tuesday, saying she refused to be used as a "political tool".

Broadcaster UA:PBC failed to come to an agreement with two other bands - Freedom Jazz and KAZKA.

The conflict arised after Maruv was asked to sign a contract saying she would not play concerts in Russia in the lead-up to Eurovision. The 27-year-old said she was willing to accept this condition, but argued that other clauses would have made her a mouthpiece for propaganda.

"I am a musician, rather than a tool of the the political stage," she wrote in a statement announcing her withdrawal.

"The song contest is an opportunity for every country to announce itself in the international arena, and for each performer to act as an ambassador," it said in a statement.

"But the national selection 2019 revealed... a systemic problem in Ukraine's music industry: The connection of artists to the territory of the aggressor state.

"For some parts society, this fact is acceptable. In others, it causes indignation and rejection."

The broadcaster said it would initiate a series of "talk shows, forums and discussions" to help resolve the issue.