Alina Pash, the winner of Ukraine's national final 'Vidbir' with 'Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors', has withdrawn from the Contest after confirming her documents had been forged.
The documents in question are to do with a visit to the disputed territory of Crimea.
To compete at 'Vidbir' and represent Ukraine at Eurovision, artists must have only visited Crimea through the land border with Ukraine.
Alina had provided proof to the public broadcaster that this was the case, but after an investigation by the broadcaster, she admitted that the documents were "potentially" forged by her team without her knowledge.
"As promised, the first thing we did was to find out the circumstances within the team that gave rise to the SBGS spokesman's statement about the illegitimate certificate.
It turned out that while we were waiting for an official response to my request from the Border Guard, a member of my team tried to find this information as soon as possible and chose the wrong path that I or any of us would agree on.
No one [else] on the team had reason to believe that the certificate was not valid. Exactly how and from where a member of our team could obtain the document provided to the Public is currently unknown. If the information provided by a member of our team to the Public Broadcaster is forged or false, law enforcement and the court must draw their own conclusions. For our part, we are ready to help establish the truth."
Following this statement, she announced later on Instagram that she had officially withdrawn,
"I don't want this virtual war and hatred. The main war now is an external one, which came to my country in 2014. I don't want to be in this dirty story anymore. With a heavy heart I withdraw my candidacy as the representative of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest. Unfortunately. I'm really sorry."
The Ukrainian broadcaster UA: PBC released a statement on the issue saying,
“Today, on 16 February, the organizing committee of the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 held an extraordinary meeting where the decision to cease the participation of Alina Pash in the national selection was made. This is because of establishing the fact that the artist’s representative falsified a certificate provided to UA: PBC. The artist agreed with this decision of the organizing committee.”
Who will represent Ukraine now?
The runner-ups of Vidbir were Kalush Orchestra with their song 'Stefania'.
The group actually won the public vote but ultimately lost out to Alina Pash by a single vote.
But that does not mean they will automatically represent the nation.
In a statement the broadcaster said,
"UA: PBC has the right to decide on the representative of Ukraine at the Contest from among the other finalists of the national selection.”
The relationship between Kalush Orchestra soured at 'Vidbir' following the result on the weekend, which saw the group accuse the broadcaster of falsifying the results.
During the announcement of the results, there was a mix up with some of the early scores (between 6th and 7th) and the scoreboard disappeared from screen.
The results were then provided verbally and the group looked visibly upset during the final result announcement and challenged organisers back stage.
In a video uploaded to Instagram, the group wanted to see the paper the results were provided on (they were refused) and threatened court action.
The situation will bring back memories for many fans of Maruv in 2019, who won Vidbir but did not represent Ukraine when contract negotiations broke down, particularly about being a "cultural ambassador” for the country.
We will update you with more information as it transpires.