The Eurovision Song Contest announced Friday that it is barring Russian musicians from competing in this year’s event in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
This year’s competition is set to take place May 10-14 in Turin, Italy.
“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,” said the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the competition.
Eurovision is a televised songwriting competition in which primarily European countries submit and perform an original song. The winner is selected by a combination of votes from a jury of music industry professionals and viewers at home.
The winning country hosts the next year’s competition.
The board said it made its decision after consulting with membership.
“The EBU is an apolitical member organization of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service,” the board’s statement said.
“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.”
Italian rock band Måneskin won last year’s competition with the song “Zitti e Buoni,” or “Shut Up and Behave.” The band received 524 points above second-place Barbara Pravi of France (499 points) and third-place Gjon’s Tears of Switzerland (432 points).
Ukraine’s Go_A came in fifth place and Russia’s Manizha came in ninth out of 26 competitors.