This year’s Eurovision has hit a major snag, with the organising team in Kiev, Ukraine resigning en masse as mounting fears surrounding the event emerge in the war-torn state.

Reports from Kiev said the walk out by 21 members of Ukraine’s Eurovision Committee was sparked by the appointment of a new chief official who allegedly took over the decision-making.

Ukraine’s prime minister, Volodymir Gorysman, tried to allay concerns over the threat to the concert, saying it was a great opportunity to showcase Kiev’s venues and event organising abilities.

“Nothing threatens Eurovision,” was the PM’s forthright comment on the issue.

The European Broadcasting Union, which operates Eurovision, has urged organisers to carry out “speedy and efficient” work.
Critics of the contest in Ukraine have persistently pointed out it is inappropriate to hold it while war rages in the east of the country. Local Orthodox Christians have also condemned organisers’ plans to hold the opening ceremony in the sacred grounds of Kiev’s Saint Sophia cathedral as “blasphemy”.

The contest has been slated for Kiev since last year’s competition, when singer Jamala won with a controversial political song about the deportations of Crimean Tatars under Joseph Stalin.