TBILISI (Georgia): American rock band The Killers apologised today after they invited a Russian fan on stage during a concert in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, drawing boos from the crowd.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Georgia has hosted thousands of Russians fleeing mobilisation and a crackdown on dissent back home, leading to some tension in the small Caucasus country.
Moscow and Tbilisi went to war in 2008 and a fifth of Georgian territory has been occupied by Russian-backed separatists since.
In a video posted on social media, The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers can be seen inviting a fan on stage during a concert at an arena on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.
“This guy is a Russian. Are you okay with a Russian coming up here?” Flowers asks, prompting crowd members to respond with boos. “You can’t recognise if someone’s your brother?” he then asks.
Local media said some audience members left during the concert, which took place yesterday.
“Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone!” The Killers said in a post on social media today.
“We recognise that a comment, meant to suggest that all of The Killers’ audience and fans are ‘brothers and sisters’, could be misconstrued. We did not mean to upset anyone and we apologise,” the band said.
Organisers at the Black Sea Arena, where the concert was held, also apologised.
“We understand the emotions of our guests,” it said in comments after the show. “The act of the artiste on the stage is not the position of Black Sea Arena,” it added.
The Georgian rock band LOUDspeakers, which played at the same concert as a warm-up act, said it was “disappointed” after the incident.
“Russia is an enemy and an occupier!” the band said in a post on social media.
The Killers, active for more than 20 years, shot to fame with the synth-rock hit “Mr Brightside”, first released in 2003.