The organiser of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest has called on its producers to stop Russia from participating in the upcoming competition over its invasion of Ukraine.

Dutch broadcaster Avrotros, which was involved in organising the 2021 event in Rotterdam, issued a statement in which its chief executive urged Europe to “unite and show what we stand for”.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian state broadcaster UA:PBC asked the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces Eurovision, to suspend Russia’s membership and ban it from the 2022 contest.

However, Eurovision indicated it plans to allow Russia to compete in May, describing itself as a “non-political cultural event”.

In his statement, Avrotros chief executive Eric van Stade said that “personally and also as director” he no longer felt able to remain silent on the issue.

He added: “This is the time when Europe must unite and show what we stand for.”

Mr van Stade described Russian action in Ukraine as “a gross violation of universal values” including sovereignty.

He concluded: “I also ask other countries to speak out and call on the EBU to suspend Russia from EBU membership, so that they can no longer participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.”

The 66th edition of Eurovision is due to take place in Turin after Italian rock band Maneskin won the 2021 contest.

Russia has not yet announced its act.

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