VILNIUS – Svitlana Loboda, a Ukrainian-born pop singer who made a career in Russia, claims to have suffered serious reputational damage due to Lithuania's decision to consider blacklisting her, and is planning to sue Vilnius' Compensa Concert Hall for refusing to give her the stage.
"This situation did major harm to us, because we planned four concerts in Lithuania: in Siauliai, Panevezys, Klaipeda and Vilnius," Loboda told a news conference in Vilnius on Monday.
"The organizers stopped selling tickets when they heard the news. Compensa illegally refused to organize our concert and only informed us that our concert was undesirable," she said.
Loboda said her lawyers are preparing a lawsuit against Compensa over its cancellation of the contract for the concert.
Her concert in the capital has been moved to Vilnius Entertainment Arena and all other planned concerts in Lithuania have been cancelled.
The singer said that a lot of lies about her had been spread publicly. She said that she has never visited Crimea after the 2014 annexation, either for work or personal purposes, and that she has never performed at a May 9 event marking the Soviet Union's World War Two victory.
It was these allegations that led the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry to consider adding Loboda to the list of unwanted persons. The ministry said later, however, that there were no legal grounds to blacklist her.
"I've never performed at Russian government concerts, this is a lie," Loboda told the news conference. "This was my principled position on concerts in Crimea and on May 9 events. I have always positioned myself as a Ukrainian artist."
The singer, who was born in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, said she is now on a charity tour of former Soviet republics and the US to raise funds for her home town.
Loboda said she completely stopped her activities in Russia and left the country after the Kremlin launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. She currently lives in Riga.