Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been barred from giving a speech at the Eurovision Song Contest ahead of this weekend’s final.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces the competition, said it had refused Mr Zelenskyrequest to address the public at the event on Saturday.
The contest is taking place in the UK with the BBC on behalf of Ukraine this year, which saw the war-torn nation triumph in Turin last year following an outpouring of support from the voting public.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is an international entertainment spectacle governed by strict rules and principles which have been established since its inception,” an EBU statement read.
“In this context, one of the cornerstones of the competition is the apolitical nature of the event.
“This principle prohibits the possibility of making political or similar statements within the framework of the contest.”
He added that Mr Zelenskyy’s request to address the public at the contest “unfortunately cannot be granted as it would be against the rules of the event”, despite being made with “laudable intentions”. “.
The EBU also noted that 11 Ukrainian artists, including last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra, are set to perform, while 37 venues from across Ukraine will also be featured.
It comes as Poland, Australia and Cyprus have progressed to the final, with 16 countries competing on Thursday night for the remaining 10 places in Saturday’s showdown at Liverpool.
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Albania, Estonia, Belgium and Austria are also countries which have succeeded in convincing voters.
Lithuania, Armenia and Slovenia were also elected.
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Meanwhile, Mr Zelenskyy would meet Pope Francis on Saturday at the Vatican, diplomatic sources told Reuters news agency.
The planned trip to Rome, which has not been officially announced, comes just two weeks after the pope said the Vatican was involved in a peace mission to try to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The two leaders have spoken on the phone several times since Russia launched its invasion, the first time less than 48 hours after the war began.
During this call, the pope is said to have expressed his sadness and solidarity with the country.