The greatest song contest in the history of all time is happening in Kyiv, Ukraine… but one country is notably absent: Russia.
Russia’s Eurovision contestant, Yulia Samoylova, has been barred from entering Ukraine.
Why? In 2015, she performed in Crimea and she got there via Moscow, which is illegal, so she got slapped with a three-year ban from entering Ukraine.
Why’s it illegal? In 2014, in response to the ousting of Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Victor Yanukovych, Russian-backed troops rolled in and took over key landmarks in key cities of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
Why was Yanukovych ousted? He turned down a deal for greater economic integration with the EU. Aside from the deal being popular with Ukrainians, dropping it was seen as snubbing Europe to get cosy with Moscow, so protests flared up.
What’s it like in Kyiv today? Right now the streets of Kyiv are gay because Eurovision is in town and Eurovision is a very, very gay event… gay as in happy (LGBT+ issues in this part of the world are complicated, so let’s leave that for another article).