Zelenskiy blocked from addressing Eurovision final
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been blocked from making an address at the final of the Eurovision song contest.
Ten countries, including Australia, have been chosen to compete in the final being held in Liverpool on Saturday night.
The contest is being held in the UK this year on behalf of war-torn Ukraine, which triumphed in the event in Turin last year following a wave of support from the voting public.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which produces the contest, said it had declined Mr Zelenskiy's request to address the event's audience on Saturday.
A statement from the EBU said: "The Eurovision Song Contest is an international entertainment show and governed by strict rules and principles which have been established since its creation.
"As part of these, one of the cornerstones of the contest is the non-political nature of the event.
"This principle prohibits the possibility of making political or similar statements as part of the contest.
"The request by Mr Zelenskiy to address the audience at the Eurovision Song Contest, whilst made with laudable intentions, regrettably cannot be granted as it would be against the rules of the event."
The EBU noted that 11 Ukrainian artists, including last year's winners Kalush Orchestra, are performing and 37 locations from around Ukraine are also being shown.
Eurovision paid tribute to Ukraine with a performance featuring music from the country from throughout the years including the Christmas carol, Carol Of The Bells, which is based on the Ukrainian song Shchedryk.
In a pre-recorded segment Welsh actor Luke Evans recalled the nearly seven-decade history of the contest, which he said had emerged out of a "continent in recovery" from the Second World War to become "Europe's most raucous election".
For the second time this week, the auditorium was filled with Ukrainian flags flying alongside those from other countries competing for the prize.