The Ukraine culture ministry has confirmed it is banning the film Bruno because is likely to offend conservative and religious opinion.
The film, about a gay Austrian journalist, features full-frontal nudity and sexual acts, although another version has been edited down in order to win a 15-certificate. It will become the first film in Britain to show two versions concurrently.
It was due to be released in the country next week but the ministry said today that the film included an “artistically unjustified exhibition of sexual organs and sexual relations, homosexual acts in a blatantly graphic form, obscene language, sadism [and] anti-social behaviour which could damage the moral upbringing of our citizens.”
A Ukrainian diplomat told The Guardian: “Ukrainian society is a conservative one. The topic is not discussed, but in reality public attitudes are exactly the same as in Russia.
“The west of Ukraine, especially, is very conservative on family issues. They are devoted Catholics, and Greek Catholics.”
Since 1991 Ukraine, formerly part of the Soviet Union, has had an equal age of consent and homosexuality was decriminalised at that time.
However, there are no specific protections for LGBT minorities, and the deeply socially conservative country is generally dominated by the Orthodox church.
MPs from the governing party have said that the “propaganda and expansion of homosexuality in the country form a threat to national security, contradict national interests and undermine the authority of rights and freedoms of human being and family.”
The Ukranian parliament’s Committee on the Issues of Freedom of Speech has also attacked the “increasing propaganda” about gay and lesbian issues.