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Russian Anti-War Rock Band Bi-2 Faces Deportation in Thailand

Members of the rock band Bi-2. b2band / Telegram

The anti-war Russian-Belarusian rock band Bi-2 said Tuesday that its members face deportation from Thailand after they performed a concert on the resort island of Phuket last week.

Seven members of Bi-2, some of whom are dual citizens of Israel and Australia, were detained by Thai immigration authorities on Wednesday following the Phuket concert.

Bi-2 said its members were being held in Bangkok after the event's organizers allegedly failed to properly fill out paperwork.

On Friday, a Phuket court fined the band members $84 each and ordered their deportation.

Bi-2 said their deportation from the Southeast Asian country was still being worked out, denying reports from Israeli media that four band members would be sent to Israel instead of Russia.

The band said they had been due to be deported to Israel before “high-ranking diplomats from the Russian Embassy” intervened and the Thai authorities “canceled” that decision on Tuesday.

Initially, the musicians said the Israeli Foreign Ministry and diplomats in Thailand were involved in “resolving the situation.”

Bi-2 has been performing outside Russia since the country invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago. 

It refused to appear on stage in front of the pro-war symbol “Z” at a concert in April 2022, after which venues across Russia began canceling their performances.

Russia’s Justice Ministry in May designated Bi-2's lead singer Yegor Bortnik (who performs under the stage name Lyova Bi-2) a “foreign agent.”

Officials in Moscow have begun threatening Bi-2 with criminal persecution following news of the band members’ detention in Thailand.

Federal lawmaker Andrei Lugovoy said Tuesday that the “scumbag” Bi-2 members “will soon be tap-dancing in front of their cellmates” in Russia.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the musicians of “sponsoring terrorism.”

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