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EU country blacklists Ukrainian singer — RT Games & Culture

Ukrainian pop star Svetlana Loboda has been declared persona non grata by Lithuania, with the country’s culture minister calling on venues and promoters to deny her a stage. The former Eurovision contestant has been added to the blacklist despite his repeated condemnations of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

“After consultation with our Ukrainian partners, we list the artist as persona non grata”, A spokeswoman for Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told the BNS news service on Thursday.

Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairis added that since Loboda is a Ukrainian citizen living in Latvia, she could not be banned from entering Lithuania. Instead, it will be added to a list of “undesirable people” and concert organizers will be encouraged – or coerced – not to go ahead with a series of scheduled performances.

Anyone who Loboda platform is “at risk” and could lose “their investments” Kairis told BNS, adding that “The state will always be on the right side.

Kairis said that Loboda’s previous stance on Russia “causes a hazard” presumably to the Lithuanian state.

Loboda speaks Russian and has performed extensively in Russia over her three-decade career. However, she represented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 and has given a series of highly critical interviews since fleeing to Latvia at the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in February.

Loboda apologized for being “indifferent” Ukrainian side of the conflict in the Donbass since 2014, described Russian President Vladimir Putin as lead the country in the wrong direction and pledged his loyalty to Ukraine “until the end.”

The Ukrainian government may have disputed Loboda’s insistence on continuing to speak the Russian language, which she described as something “does not belong to the Russian authorities”, or with his appeals to his fellow Ukrainians to “to be merciful” to Russians who do not support their government. Kyiv has restricted the language rights of Russian speakers in recent years, while senior Ukrainian officials have pressed the EU to deny visas to all Russians, regardless of their connection to the Kremlin.

Loboda also canceled tour dates in Latvia. Kairis cited the cancellations when he called on Lithuanian promoters to ban the 40-year-old singer from performing.

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