STOCKHOLM (AP) — Eurovision Song Contest officials have condemned Armenia’s contestant for brandishing the flag of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenian singer Iveta Mukuchyan waved the flag during a qualifying event late Tuesday. The separatist region is officially part of Azerbaijan but currently is under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces.
The European Broadcasting Union, the alliance of public broadcasters that produces the annual contest, on Wednesday called the incident a “serious breach” of its ban on political messages.
It said Armenia’s public broadcaster would face yet-to-be-determined sanctions and that “any further breach of the rules of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest could lead to disqualification from this year’s event or any successive editions.”
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Contestants from both Armenia and Azerbaijan qualified for the Eurovision final on Saturday.