STOCKHOLM (ABC News)—Eurovision Song Contest officials have condemned Armenia’s contestant for raising the flag of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenian singer Iveta Mukuchyan waved the flag during a qualifying event late Tuesday.
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.”
“What Armenia wants is just peace,” Mukuchyan told reporters at the Winners’ press conference on Tuesday when a reporter asked about her Artsakh flag.
“My heart, my thoughts, my feelings and my emotions are with my Motherland. I just want peace on the borders. Armenia wants just peace. That’s why I wrote this song. I just want to spread loves,” Mukuchyan continued.
“I put up the flag because I want people to concentrate on that. I just want peace in this world,” she added.
Contestants from both Armenia and Azerbaijan qualified for the Eurovision final on Saturday together with Russia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Malta.
Mukuchyan will perform during the second half of the Grand Finale on Saturday.