Another Pop Star Placed in Middle of Russia-Ukraine Tensions

Red Square in Moscow
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Red Square in Moscow, Russia. 

Russian singer Lolita Milyavskaya, who was born in Ukraine during the Soviet era, was removed from a train on her way to visit her daughter there.

A conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Russian artists blacklisted in Ukraine has escalated as singer Lolita Milyavskaya was denied entry to Ukraine and taken off the train on Sunday.

She was traveling to Ukraine to visit her sick daughter, who lives in the neighboring country with Milyavskaya's mother, the singer said in a video published on her Facebook account.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said Milyavskaya was barred from entering the country because of her 2015 visit to Crimea, a peninsular region annexed by Russia from Ukraine back in 2014.

In another Facebook video, Milyavskaya accused Ukrainian authorities of separating families and the two peoples, speaking in Ukrainian and Russian and adding obscenities to her comments.

SBU also published an indecent photo of Milyavskaya on its official Twitter account, with the words "Good luck."

Milyavskaya later told the Russian FM radio station Govorit Moskva that the picture was Photoshoped.

"No one has mentioned that the singer's daughter, who is already 17, has been brought up by Lolita's parents for her entire life," reads an editorial in the Ukrainian newspaper Delovaya Stolitsa. "And the singer was never going to take her daughter to live with her, saying she was more comfortable in Kyiv."

Incidentally, Milyavskaya was born in Ukraine when it was still part of the Soviet Union, and spent her childhood and adolescence there.

In 2015, SBU compiled a "black list" or Russian artists who supported the annexation of Crimea, banning them from entering the country. The list includes popular singers Oleg Gazmanov, Mikhail Boyarsky, Nikolai Rastorguyev, Iosif Kobzon, Valeria and Grigory Leps.

It was later extended to include artists who performed in the disputed region. Among the most recent additions was Yulia Samoilova, selected to be the Russian entry in the Eurovision song contest, scheduled to run in Ukraine's capital Kyiv next month.

Her ban on entry into Ukraine caused a huge controversy in Russia as the country refused to replace Samoilova with another entrant and said it won't broadcast this year's contest.

Russia's Public Chamber has sent addresses to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, calling on them to look into the legitimacy of Ukraine's entry bans for Russian artists, including Milyavskaya.

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