Kristian Kostov with Bulgarian flag in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo: 7 May 2017

Picture copyright
AFP

Picture caption

At 17, Kristian Kostov is the youngest competitor this yr

As Eurovision followers put together for Saturday’s last in Ukraine’s capital Kiev, it appears just like the track contest has prevented yet one more row – this time over the Bulgarian entrant.

Kristian Kostov visited Crimea in 2014 when it was annexed by Russia however this was not unlawful, Ukraine officers say.

Russia’s singer Julia Samoilova was earlier barred from getting into Ukraine for performing in Crimea a yr later.

That call outraged Russia, who then determined to not broadcast the present.

Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 – a transfer that triggered worldwide condemnation and led to anti-Russian sanctions by the EU, the US and a lot of different international locations.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s border service stated it was learning info that Kostov carried out in Crimea in June 2014 after footage had emerged apparently displaying the Bulgarian singing within the Artek kids centre.

“We don’t presently have info from our sources or every other regulation enforcement businesses that he could have visited the occupied peninsula opposite to the laws of this nation,” it stated.

However border service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan defined that – if media reviews have been appropriate – Kostov nonetheless wouldn’t have damaged Ukrainian regulation.

He stated laws banning foreigners from visiting the annexed territory with out permission from Ukraine – or instantly from Russia – got here into pressure solely in November 2014 – 4 months after Kostov’s alleged go to.

Mr Slobodyan added that Kostov, who at 17 is the youngest competitor, was a minor on the time, anyway. This meant, the official stated, that the singer couldn’t have been accountable and needed to be accompanied by adults.

Media playback is unsupported in your gadget

Media captionWhy this Russian singer will not be in Kiev this yr

Born in Moscow in March 2000, Kostov might choose up plenty of the votes that might have gone to Samoilova, BBC’s leisure reporter Neil Smith in Kiev says.

Kostov’s dramatic self-penned ballad can also be a stirring sufficient composition to place him on track to higher the fourth-place end Bulgaria’s Poli Genova managed final yr, our reporters provides.