The Killers have apologised after Brandon Flowers told an audience in Georgia that a Russian fan was their "brother".

The 'Smile Like You Mean It' hitmakers were booed towards the end of their show in Batumi on Tuesday (15.08.23) after inviting a man to play drums with them during 'For Reasons Unknown' towards the end of the show and revealed to the crowd in the former Soviet state that he was from the neighbouring country, which invaded them in 2008.

In video footage circulating online, Brandon said to a mixture of cheers and boos: “We don’t know the etiquette of this land but this guy’s a Russian. You OK with a Russian coming up here?”

After the song, the 42-year-old singer was booed again when he raised the subject a second time.

He said: “You can’t recognise if someone’s your brother? He’s not your brother?

“We all separate on the borders of our countries? … Am I not your brother, being from America?”

Brandon urged the audience to celebrate "that we're here together".

He added: “I don’t want it to turn ugly. And I see you as my brothers and my sisters.”

Mariam Nikuradze, a Georgian journalist, claimed on X fans had left after the song,and while the band finished their set, they didn't say goodbye to the audience at the end of the show.

Following the outcry, the band issued a statement apologising and insisted they hadn't meant to offend anyone.

They said in the message, which was shared to their social channels: "Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone!

"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 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. We stand with you and hope to return soon."

Russia has occupied 20% of Georgian territory since its 2008 invasion.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine last year, many Russian citizens have headed for the safety of Georgia, which gained independence from Soviet rule in 1991, but some have faced a backlash there.