Armed thugs ransack headquarters of Ukrainian LGBT+ group in ‘humiliating’ raid
Workers at an LGBT+ organisation in Ukraine were left in shock when armed men ransacked and robbed their offices in the dead of night.
The raid took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning (1 March) at the Kyiv-based offices of LGBT Human Rights Nash Mir Center, according to its co-ordinator.
At around midnight, the group of armed men turned up the premises and started trying to break the door down. It took them about an hour before they successfully made their way into the offices.
During that time, four staff members – who also reside at the premises – tried to contact police, but were unable to reach authorities, likely due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
When the gang finally broke the door down, they raided the offices, robbed from them, and one staff member was even “seriously bitten”.
Andriy Maymulakhin is co-ordinator at the LGBT Human Rights Nash Mir Center. He told PinkNews that they believed at first that the men were a “Russian terrorist group”, however they now believe the gang could have been Ukrainian.
“We do not know who they are. People with guns. They humiliated my friends. They are bandits,” Maymulakhin said in an email.
He is asking the community to donate to help them restore their offices so they can continue advocating for Ukraine’s LGBT+ community.
Ukraine’s LGBT+ community is asking queer people abroad to show support
The raid comes as fears for the safety of LGBT+ Ukrainians continues to escalate as Russia’s widely condemned invasion wages on.
LGBT+ people in the country have spoken out against the invasion, which has resulted in civilian casualties and sanctions being imposed on Russia.
Speaking to GlibberBeam, a global LGBT+ radio station, the director of Kyiv Pride said Ukraine was in a state of “panic” and “anxiety” and urged listeners to provide “international political support”.
“We understand that LGBT+ Pride will be the first target for Russia,” Lenny Emson explained.
“But we believe in the Ukrainian army that has been fighting already for 24 hours holding Russia back. We want to hope and we want to believe that the international community will stand up and help us in this fight.
“We don’t want to believe that Ukraine will be Russia. There is no space for human rights in that country. We don’t want Ukraine to be the same, and we are going to fight against it.”
There has been an outpouring of support and solidarity with Ukraine from all over the world since Russia launched its “full-scale invasion” last week.
The United States, the European Union and the UK have imposed sanctions on Russia in a bid to discourage the country from continuing its military action, which is in breach of international law.