Vladimir Putin has no reason to doubt the Chechen leader’s denial that a gay purge is taking place in his region, a spokesman for the Russian president has said.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s Press Secretary, added that investigators have found no evidence to support claims of the purge, which originated in respected newspaper Novaya Gazeta, according to Associated Press.
The newspaper reported that more than 100 gay men have been detained, allegedly in concentration camps, and at least three killed.
Yesterday evening, Putin had a meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who told the Russian president not to believe the “provocative” articles.
And earlier this week, Kadyrov hit out at international organisations and decried reports of the gay purge in the Russian region.
Kadyrov took to social media to claim that he had met with the human rights council in the region and worked to make a “grandiose improvement” to rights in Chechnya.
He also accused international organisations of conducting a “massive information attack using the most unworthy methods, reality is distorted, attempts are being made to blacken our society, lifestyle, traditions and customs.”
A spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov has previously denied there are any gay people to purge, insisting that “you can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic”.
And editors of Novaya Gazeta have voiced fears over the safety of the staff after they received countless threats following reports on the alleged purge.
Hundreds of LGBT activists gathered outside the Russian Embassy in London last week to protest the detention of gay men in ‘concentration camps’ in Chechnya.
They carried placards saying “LGBT+ rights are human rights” and “Queer lives matter, close the camps,” as well as a tuba with a sign demanding that Prime Minister Theresa May speak out against concentration camps.