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Russia booted from Eurovision Song Contest over Ukraine

Maneskin from Italy celebrate with the trophy after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, Netherlands on May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

LONDON (AP) -- The European Broadcasting Union says that Russia will not be allowed an entry in this year's Eurovision Song Contest because of the country's invasion of Ukraine.

    The union said in a statement Friday that including a Russian entry this year would bring the competition into "disrepute.''

    Russian troops bore down on Ukraine's capital Friday with shelling hitting a Kyiv apartment building and pummeling bridges and schools. Hundreds of casualties have been reported since Russia began its assault Thursday. Russia's actions have been widely condemned by world leaders and sparked demonstrations in many cities denouncing Russian President Vladmir Putin.

    "The EBU is an apolitical member organisation of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service,'' the union said on Twitter. "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."

    This year's finale is being held in Turin, Italy, on May 14.

    Russia had not yet announced an entrant for the splashy contest.

    Ukraine will be represented by Kalush Orchestra, which organizers describe as a "hip-hop band with a fondness for folk."

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