Apologies for a Eurovision post as early as March, but the events of the last couple of days have been truly extraordinary. First of all, the Ukrainian authorities announced that the Russian entrant wouldn't be allowed into the country to compete in this year's contest (taking place in Kiev), because she performed in Crimea without their permission. Russia of course now regards Crimea as an integral part of its own territory, so whatever you may think of that state of affairs, it would have been totally unrealistic to expect a Russian citizen to apply for Ukrainian permission before going there.
I suggested on Twitter yesterday that the EBU couldn't possibly accept a Ukrainian veto on who can compete for Russia, and that if there was no U-turn they would have to think about the unprecedented step of allowing Julia Samoilova to compete via a live feed. After a little indecision, the EBU came to precisely that conclusion today. But now the Ukrainians are apparently attempting to veto even that solution, and are saying that it would somehow be a breach of Ukrainian law to broadcast the Russian song if it is performed under these circumstances.
There is a very clear precedent covering this scenario. In 2005, Lebanon seemed set to join the contest, and selected a beautiful (if a tad old-fashioned) entry in French called Quand tout s'enfuit. I was really disappointed when they were forced to withdraw, but the logic was impossible to argue with - Lebanese law forbade the broadcast of the Israeli entry, and that would have made a mockery of the whole contest. Exactly the same principle applies here. It's probably too late to strip Ukraine of their hosting rights, but if they refuse to broadcast the properly-selected Russian entry, they shouldn't be allowed to participate in their own contest. If they don't back down and they aren't banned, the integrity of the competition (stop laughing at the back) will be fatally undermined.