A group of Belarusian musicians canceled a planned concert in Budva, Montenegro, in support of Ukraine after pro-Russian participants protested in front of the venue.
The Belarusian band Lyapis Trubetskoy was supposed to play in the Montenegrin town of Budva on Wednesday, but the shows were canceled after a pro-Russian group held a protest there.
The concert in support of Ukraine was canceled just hours before the start of the performance, after the group gathered in front of the Budva palazzo, chanting “Serbs and Russians are brothers forever.”
“The reason for the cancellations was the unprecedented political pressure on concert venues related to the band’s civic position. All the venues refused to hold the concert one by one,” the band said in a post on social media.
The Embassy of Ukraine in Montenegro asked the government to do something about what happened and make sure that Ukrainians living in the country are safe.
“Any pressure on the owners of the club and Ukrainian guests, as well as public manifestations of aggression and incitement to hatred, are absolutely unacceptable and are subject to categorical condemnation. The action that took place in front of the club can be regarded as a direct threat to Ukrainian guests of Budva,” the embassy said in a statement.
Montenegrin police said that they are keeping an eye on the club to stop any more trouble. They stressed that the pro-Russian meeting was short and peaceful. Police also noted that another concert in Kotor was canceled for purely technical reasons.
On February 12, the planned concert of the band “Lyapis Trubetskoy” was also canceled in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, after the nationalist movement “Doors” called on the authorities to ban it.
“Serhiy Mikhalok, the leader of the Lyapis, is known as an enemy of Russia and a supporter of the Kyiv Maidan, which overthrew the pro-Russian government in Ukraine in 2014. He wrote the song “Warriors of Light,” which became the anthem of the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine,” .
The planned concerts in Montenegro and Serbia are part of the band’s European tour in support of Ukraine. Although the band is Belarusian, some of its members, including former leader Sergei Mikhalko, have been living in Kyiv, Ukraine, in recent years.
Montenegro is deeply divided over the war in Ukraine. The country’s large ethnic Serb minority is overwhelmingly sympathetic to Russia. Those who identify as Montenegrin often feel differently.
Even though Russia and Montenegro are both Orthodox, relations between the two countries have gotten much worse, especially since 2014. That’s when Montenegro, which wants to join NATO, joined Western sanctions against Russia because of its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and support for the armed uprising in eastern Ukraine.