Moscow (AFP) - Singer Robbie Williams has offered to represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest in a jokey interview to state television.
The offer in an interview aired late Monday on state-controlled Channel One has already prompted a ruling party lawmaker to warn the British star would not be welcome, however.
Williams told Andrei Malakhov, the host of the show "Pust Govoryat" or Let them talk, in comments dubbed into Russian: "I'd like to represent Russia at Eurovision. Come on Russia, we can win!"
Williams grinned as he made the offer, adding however that he could see his manager "has already got his head in his hands."
Describing himself as a huge fan of the contest, Williams expressed admiration for the video and dance show put on by Russia's contestant last year Sergei Lazarev, who came third.
Williams last year released a single called "Party like a Russian" with lyrics that some suggested referred to President Vladimir Putin, which the singer denied.
Pro-Putin MP Iosif Kobzon, himself a popular singer, slammed Williams' offer as "idiotic," in a comment to RIA Novosti state news agency, saying Russia has "plenty of its own singers."
"We have no need of British defenders of our culture," said Kobzon, who is deputy head of the lower house's culture committee.
The offer came as Russia's participation in the contest in Kiev in May hangs in the balance due to a political wrangle.
Ukraine, which is hosting the event this year, said Monday it has already drawn up the paperwork to potentially ban Russian singer Yuliya Samoilova because she has performed in Crimea since its annexation by Moscow.
Samoilova, a 27-year-old who uses a wheelchair, was selected by Channel One as Russia's contestant without a public vote. She had performed at the Paralympic Games hosted by Russia in Sochi in 2014.
Russia in turn has warned it could boycott the event if Samoilova is banned, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling journalists Monday that "as far I understand, the option of a replacement doesn't exist."
Malakhov asked Samoilova if she would like Williams to come along to support her at the contest. "With pleasure, I'm all for it," she said.