Russia's Interior Ministry has launched a criminal probe into flag desecration after the bassist in the U.S. rock group Bloodhound Gang stuffed a Russian flag down his pants (warning: profanity
) at a concert in Ukraine.
The ministry said in a statement that it had opened a criminal case "after looking into actions that demonstrated disrespect to the Russian state flag."
Under Russian law, desecration of the national flag can lead to a jail sentence of up to one year.
"A criminal case has been launched over a desecration of the Russian Federation flag," Russian Interior Ministry spokesman Andrei Pilipchuk said in a statement. "The main suspect in the case is a bass guitar player of an American band who committed the offense during a rock concert in the city of Odesa in the Republic of Ukraine. This offense carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment of up to one year."
Earlier, the U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul said in a tweet that he found the actions of the band "disgusting."
The band's appearance at a festival in southern Russia was canceled and the musicians were forced to leave the country after video emerged of the July 31 incident.
The band was subsequently attacked by a group of men at Russia's Anapa Airport in an incident that was also shared on the Internet
Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax