Mark Knopfler cancels Russia tour in human rights protest

Mark Knopfler Credit: morena brengola/ /EMPICS Entertainment

Founder of Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, has cancelled two concerts in Russia in protest over what he has called "a crackdown" on human rights groups.

Writing on his website, Knopfler said: "Given the crackdown by Russian authorities on groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, I have regretfully decided to cancel my upcoming concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg."

"I have always loved playing in Russia and have great affection for the country and the people. I hope the current climate will change soon."

Knopfler was due to perform in Moscow on June 7 and in St Petersburg on June 8.