The rock band The Killers publicly apologized to the people of Georgia on Tuesday after lead singer Brandon Flowers was heckled for bringing a Russian fan onstage during a concert in the former Soviet republic.
Social media footage circulating of the concert shows Flowers addressing the crowd after bringing a fan onstage and saying, "We don't know the etiquette of this land, but this guy is a Russian, are you OK with a Russian? I'm all right with it," with the crowd responding with loud boos.
"One of the things we have come to appreciate about being in this band is it brings people together … I see you as my brother and my sisters," Flowers said over a jeering crowd with one audience member heard angrily shouting, "This is Georgia," in response to the Killers frontman.
The band was performing on Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Batumi as part of its European tour.
"Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone!" a statement on the band's Facebook page said after the concert. "We have a longstanding tradition of inviting people to play drums and it seemed from the stage that the initial response from the crowd indicated that they were okay with tonight's audience participation member coming onstage with us."
"We recognize that a comment, meant to suggest that all of The Killers' audience and fans are 'brothers and sisters,' could be misconstrued," the post read.
Georgia is overwhelmingly pro-Ukrainian, and anti-Russian graffiti can be seen regularly on the streets of Tbilisi, the country's capital.
Last week marked the 15th anniversary of Russia's takeover of around one-fifth of Georgia's territory. After a brief war in 2008, Moscow invaded and then recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian province, Abkhazia, and set up military bases there.
As, tensions between the two countries have been further exacerbated by the fact that thousands of Russians have fled to Georgia in an effort to avoid the war following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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