A Ukrainian nationalist party is under fire after a high profile member suggested a black singer cannot represent the country at a popular international song contest.
Pop star Gaitana, 32, who was born in Kiev to a Congolese father and Ukrainian mother, was chosen last week to represent Ukraine at the 2012 Eurovision Song contest to be held in May in the ex-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.
Yuri Sirotyuk of the political party Svoboda (Freedom) was quoted by media as saying Gaitana does not represent Ukrainian culture, and Ukraine will be associated with Africa if she sings in the contest.
Ukraine's National Television condemned the statement as racist and demanded Sirotyuk apologizes to Gaitana Wednesday.
Gaitana was to issue a statement later in the day.