She may not be going to the Eurovision song contest after Ukraine refused to allow her to enter the country, but Yulia Samoylova still has audiences to charm, and she has returned to Crimea to perform the sing she wanted to sing got the contest, “Flame is burning”, as part of the celebrations marking the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
Russia provocatively chose Samoylova to represent it despite knowing she would likely be barred from entering Ukraine.
“This is not a song contest between singers, it’s a political contest. Moreover it is not done in a humane way. We don’t like a competition like that,” said one Sevastapol resident in Crimea.
Samoylova defied a Ukrainian ban not to perform in Crimea after it was illegally annexed by the Russians. But she did not intend to be discouraged from returning to Crimea to sing the song in an act of defiance, even if it won’t now feature in the contest as Russia has pulled out in protest, and won’t broadcast the show on the night.