#Ukraine – Kiev puts finishing touches to Eurovision as song contest gets political.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in a few days, host city Kiev puts final touches on preparations.

With the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest set to kick off in just a few days, host city Kiev is rushing to complete the final touches on preparations for the international competition.

Kiev has started welcoming Eurovision fans and set up food stalls, performance stages and big screens in the centre of the town which will broadcast the semi-finals and final next week. But as Ukraine prepares to host the final stages of the Eurovision competition next week, a dispute remains over its decision to bar Russia’s entrant to the contest – because she had performed in Crimea after it was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Russia has vowed to boycott the competition, saying Ukraine’s move had tarnished the event. Ukraine hit back by saying that Moscow had deliberately tried to provoke Ukraine.

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Relations between Ukraine and Russia soured following the annexation and the outbreak of a war between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people. Hostilities spilled over into the glitzy Eurovision show after Ukrainian contestant Jamala unexpectedly won the contest last year with an entry that Russia called politicized.

Russia’s proposed entry, Yulia Samoylova, is due to perform in the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Tuesday, May 9, coinciding with the first semi-final of Eurovision.

Ukraine expects about 12,000-14,000 spectators to attend the competition next week with millions more watching on television. It will be the second time that Kiev hosts the event.

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