The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has changed the procedure for granting foreign travel permits to draft-age male artists. The number of reports that some male stars are no longer being allowed out of the country is increasing across social media.

The Ukrainian band Tvorchi, who are supposed to represent Ukraine at Eurovision in Great Britain, have found themselves on this list. On their Instagram page, they suggest that their performance at the competition is in jeopardy.

“We united and became the army of the cultural front. We managed to attract millions of dollars, conduct educational work, meet with the leaders of partner countries, tell the truth, ask for help, and say words of gratitude,” the musicians wrote on social networks.

Another well-known band, Kazka, could not perform on March 12 in London at a charity concer, because the male members of the line-up had not been released from Ukraine.

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Musicians warn that now all charity performances, thanks to which stars collect money for the Ukrainian army, are in question.

Why did the Ministry of Culture tighten restrictions?

Recently, in an interview with TV journalist Roman Skrypin, comedian Andriy Shchegel admitted that he had received permission from the Ministry of Culture to leave Ukraine as an artist, after which he remained in Turkey – despite the fact that he had received a summons by the military police several times. As for the military who defend the country, Shchegel said that it was their “choice to die.”

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The comedian later apologized for his words, blaming the media. But he did not mention whether he intended to return to Ukraine.

What happens next?

Artists have started a campaign calling on the Ministry of Culture to reconsider its strict restrictions. One of Ukraine’s most internationally acclaimed writers, Serhiy Zhadan, who is currently touring in the United States, has called on officials to release the artists. Because “the experience and example of fools and scoundrels should not cancel out the efforts of thousands of those who work for Ukrainian culture.”

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The Ministry has not yet responded to the appeals of the artists. Instead, they promised to support Tvorchi’s performance at Eurovision 2023 as much as possible.

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