Hundreds take part in first Pride march in Ukraine since start of Russian invasion

LGBTQ+ soldiers participated in the march, calling on the government to grant them civil partnership rights.

People taking part in a Pride march in Kyiv, Ukraine, carrying signs in Ukranian and Pride flags.
Image: Via X - @KyivPride

On Sunday, June 15, hundreds of people took part in the first Pride march to take place in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion in 2022. Several LGBTQ+ soldiers participated, wearing rainbow patches on their uniforms and calling on the government to grant them civil partnership rights.

Activists marched from the Museum of Kyiv History to the Lesya Ukrainka Academic Theatre in the capital’s centre. Representatives from at least six foreign embassies, including Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, also attended.

Although the event was described as a Pride march, it was less celebratory than other such events happening in peacetime. Participants were under heavy police guard due to threats from counter-protesters who showed up not far from the street where the march took place.

Moreover, ahead of the event, organisers faced obstacles in making it happen, with the city authorities turning down their application to allow the Pride march to take place at a metro station. The event was also condemned by one of the main branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.


Despite these difficulties, campaigners managed to gather around 500 people for the demonstration. Campaigners called for legal reforms that would allow partners in same-sex couples to make medical decisions for wounded soldiers and for the legislation on civil partnerships to be considered in Parliament.

Activists argued that improving legal protections for queer people in the country would create a further divide between Ukraine and Russia, where the community faces harsh anti-LGBTQ+ laws and rights are restricted.


Speaking to Gwara Media, co-founder of KyivPride Anna Sharygina commented on the event, saying that what they were seeing was “500 people who registered, who passed the check, who passed through several other barriers in order to speak out about their rights in such difficult conditions.”

Sharygina also drew attention to the draft law on civil partnerships, which was not considered by the parliament and announced a Pride event in Kharkiv in September 2024.


War veteran Dmytro Pavlov, who participated in the Pride march in Ukraine, told the Associated Press: “We are ordinary people who are fighting on an equal footing with everyone else, but deprived of the rights that other people have.”

Since the launch of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian authorities and armed forces have committed multiple war crimes, including massacres of civilians, rape, torture and indiscriminate attacks in densely populated areas. The war had resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and a refugee crisis. Many countries all over the world imposed sanctions on Russia in an attempt to put an end to the ongoing invasion.

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