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Ukraine pulls out of Eurovision Song Contest — How did we get here?

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Ukraine pulls out of Eurovision Song Contest — How did we get here?
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Reuters
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Ukraine has confirmed that it will not take part in this year's Eurovision Song Contest after a controversial contractual disagreement with its nominee.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the contest, confirmed "with sadness" Ukraine's decision to miss the 2019 show.

"There will be further discussions between the EBU and [Ukraine's broadcaster] UA:PBC on this matter but we hope to see them again in 2020," the organisers added.

Ukrainian singer Maruv was due to represent her country at the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv after topping a public vote on Saturday but was dropped after she refused to sign a contract with UA:PBC.

The proposed contract from the Ukrainian broadcasting authority included restrictions on performing in Russia.

While the singer maintained that she was ready to cancel her performances in Russia, she argued that signing the contract would have made her a propagandist for the Kyiv government.

"I am a citizen of Ukraine, pay taxes and sincerely love Ukraine. But I am not ready to come up with slogans and turn my participation in the contest into a promotional activity for our politicians," she wrote on Facebook.

"I am a musician, not a puppet for the political arena," she added.

However, Maruv's manager and PR team told Euronews that it was not the contractual obligations regarding Russia that led to the ultimate refusal to sign.

Rather, the disagreements were over parts of the contract involving expenses and permissions to take part in interviews and promotional events.

READ MORE: Ukraine drops Eurovision singer over Russia row

'Systematic problem' in the Ukrainian music industry

The unravelling row between Maruv and the Ukrainian broadcaster was just latest drama in what has been a tumultuous selection process this year for Ukraine.

The drama unfolded last week following the interview of two entrants, a twin duo named AnnaMaria, whose parents held high-profile careers in the Russia-annexed Republic of Crimea.

When prompted by the interviewer to name Crimea's true sovereignty, the duo replied: "Ukraine lost Crimea."

AnnaMaria's reply sparked a wider debate about Ukraine's Eurovision entrants, their connections with Russia and whether the duo should even be allowed to represent the country.

This drama surrounding the selection process had highlighted a "systematic problem with the music industry in Ukraine," UA:PBC said on Wednesday.

"Whilst for some, these links are acceptable, for others it causes indignation and unacceptance."

Following an investigation, it was found that the majority of the finalists for the 2019 Eurovision selection for Ukraine had connections with Russia, which is not unusual.

The problem, UA:PBC added, is "the connection of artists with an aggressor state with whom we are in the fifth year of military conflict."

"Given the current situation, and following Ukrainian law on public broadcasting, as well as conditions of excessive politicisation of the national selection process, UA:PBC has decided to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest."