The Chechen president claimed that European leaders and media outlets are using the reports to distract people away from their own social and political issues.

“It’s funny that the European community is not interested in the war in the East, global warming or problems in their own countries, but the tales of the Chechen Republic are very, very attractive,” he said.

“The media, both Russian and foreign, are confused,” he added, before accusing them of “not understanding where the truth is”.

Ramzan then went on to state that “they have never had the idea to come and see everything themselves.”

The Chechen leader used his newly-launched Telegram channel to make the claims.

The Kremlin and Chechen government have both repeatedly denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured in the region.

That’s despite Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, having publicly declared that he wanted all LGBT+ people in the country to be eliminated by May 26, which marked the start of Muslim holiday, Ramadan.

It comes after Russian newspaper Novaya Gazetta – who initially reported the three deaths of gay and bisexual men by authorities in the region back in March – has now said that that total has risen to 26 since the beginning of the year.

The newspaper’s original report was  later confirmed by the Human Rights Watch, who added that the information coming through was “consistent” with “numerous trusted sources” they had spoken to on the ground in Russia.

But more recently there have been further terrible accounts of young gay men being murdered by their own family members, as authorities tell parents to kill them – or they’ll do it themselves.

In one chilling instance, a 17-year-old male was pushed from a 9th floor balcony by his own uncle.

The Russian LGBT Network have been working hard to help men escape the persecution, and have so far managed to get 40 people into hiding in other areas of Russia.

Over the weekend, France welcomed their first refugee who had fled from Chechnya.

It fell on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Versailles to speak to newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron about the ongoing issue.

 

This article was originally published on Gay Times. Read the original article.