Russia will no longer be allowed to participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the European Broadcasting Union has said.
The EBU, which produces the event, said, “Russia’s inclusion could bring the competition into disrepute, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”
Russia launched an attack on its neighbour Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday.
Western governments have ramped up international sanctions in response.
Just 24 hours after organisers of the contest had said Russia would be allowed to compete, a rapid change had since been made on the stance by EBU.
It follows the announcement that football’s 2022 Champions League final would be played in Paris after Russia was stripped of the match following the invasion of Ukraine.
F1’s Russian Grand Prix, due to take place in Sochi in September, was also cancelled.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian broadcaster UA: PBC urged the EBU to suspend Russia’s Eurovision membership and ban it from the contest.
State broadcasters from countries including Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands had called for Russia to be banned from the contest.
Finland said if Russia took part, it would not send a representative to the contest in Turin in May.
The EBU said it remained 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.”
UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted: “Eurovision stands for freedom, unity and respect between countries – watched and enjoyed by tens of millions around the world. Glad to see Eurovision taking action and kicking Russia out.”
The 66th edition of Eurovision is due to take place in Turin after Italian rock band Maneskin won the 2021 contest.
Russia had not announced its activities for the contest, which it last won in 2008 with Dima Bilan singing ‘Believe’.
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