Eurovision Song Contest officials have warned Armenia’s contestant over her raising the flag of Nagorno Karabakh during the first semifinal of the show in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday night.
Germany-based Armenian singer Iveta Mukuchyan waved the flag, a horizontal tricolor of red, blue, and orange like Armenia’s with a white sideways zigzag chevron in the fly, during a voting recap while being shown along with the Armenian delegation in the so-called Green Room where participants wait for their scores.
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, a 29-year-old Armenia-born stunner, told reporters at the semifinal winners’ press conference when a reporter asked her about the Karabakh 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 love,” Mukuchyan added.
Contestants from both Armenia and Azerbaijan qualified for the Eurovision final that is scheduled to take place on Saturday. Mukuchyan will perform during the second half of the Grand Finale in which a Russian contestant remains a bookmaker favorite to win.