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Zelensky to send letter, not video, to Italy's Sanremo song contest

Move comes following row over video appearance.

A planned video appearance by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky at Italy's top music festival Sanremo has been withdrawn, following criticism from Italian politicians, the state broadcaster RAI confirmed on Monday.

Zelensky will instead send a written message which will be read out by Sanremo presenter Amadeus on the final night of the festival, being held from 7-11 February.

The development was confirmed by RAI prime time entertainment director Stefano Coletta who said the broadcaster has been in "daily contact" with Ukraine's deputy foreign minister Andriy Melnyk.

The controversy arose after a number of prominent Italian politicians objected - for varying reasons - to Zelensky appearing via video at Italy's biggest showbiz event of the year.

Sanremo host Amadeus said he found the idea of reading Zelensky's letter "very romantic", adding: "We only asked that it be already translated into Italian".

Photo credit: Oleksandr Osipov / Shutterstock.com.

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