Ukrainian singer Gaitana won the hearts of the judges in her bid to represent her country in the Eurovision Song Contest this year.
However, the 32-year-old, who was born in Kiev to a Congolese father and a Ukrainian mother has scored, “nul points” from a politician who has said she is not representative of Ukraine because of the colour of her skin.
“It is not only about me, it is about every person who regards him or herself free in this world, who wants to be free. It’s a real shame the nationalist party has made such a racist statement. They ruin Ukraine’s reputation in the face of Europe and the whole world,” she said.
World heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko and leader of the Udar party has slammed the statement from Yuri Sirotyuk, a high-ranking member of the Svoboda party, which is not represented in parliament.
“People who start to speculate on national issues like this, on the issue of language don’t have any perspective. They may get short-term support but no long term gain,” Klitschko opined.
National Television, which held the contest where Gaitana was selected, has demanded Sirotyuk apologise. Some believe it highlights a problem that legislation is not being enforced.
“Comparing Ukraine to other European countries, we do have legislation on racism and xenophobia but it is not being used to sentence those who are guilty and to develop a culture where people are held responsible for their actions and words,” explained Yana Salakhova from the International Organisation for Migration.