Organizers of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest say that Russia will still be allowed to compete in the international competition despite the country’s unprovoked invasion of the neighboring nation of Ukraine. Via The Huffington Post, the European Broadcast Union (EBU), which produces the competition, defended Eurovision as a “non-political cultural event.”

At the time of this writing, several Ukrainian cities are under attack, and Russian special forces and airborne troops have breached Ukraine’s capitol city of Kyiv. American officials have suggested that President Vladimir Putin may seek to replace the democratically-elected government of Ukraine with a shadow government, or perhaps even annex Ukraine into Russia. Two days ago, Putin said, “Ukraine has never had its own authentic statehood,” apart from Russia.

Ukraine is also competing in Eurovision 2022 and will be sending Kalush Orchestra on their behalf. Kalush Orchestra may find themselves in the surreal position of representing a country that no longer exists. Russia has not yet announced its act.

The European Union has condemned the invasion and promised sanctions on Russia. Ukrainian state broadcaster UA:PBC has called on the EBU to follow suit and suspend Russia’s membership, saying that Russian broadcasters have been “a mouthpiece for the Kremlin and a key tool of political propaganda” while taking part in “systematic dissemination of disinformation” against Ukraine.

In a statement, the EBU said, “The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event which unites nations and celebrates diversity through music. The EBU’s public broadcaster members in both Russia and Ukraine have committed to participating in this year’s event in Turin and we are currently planning to welcome artists from both countries to perform in May. We of course will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Eurovision 2022 is set to take place in Turin, Italy, following the 2021 victory of “Zitti e buoni” by Måneskin. It begins May 10th. An adaptation, the American Song Contest, will begin March 21st and be hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg.

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