The White House has finally responded to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s recent disturbing comments about gay people.
Earlier this month in an interview with HBO’s Real Sports, the Chechen leader – who is a big MMA fan – was questioned about the gay purge which has recently resumed in Chechnya according to reports earlier this month.
“We don’t have those kinds of people here… If there are there take them to Canada. Praise be to God. Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home.To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.”
“They are devils.”
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Washington that the State Department found these remarks “very concerning and also upsetting.” She added that Washington has raised the issue with Russian officials “at the highest levels.”
“The United States and we here, at the State Department, have spoken a lot about concerns about the treatment of LGBTI people in Chechnya,” Nauert said. “We have called on Russia to hold a federal investigation into that matter, and we have those conversations at the highest level.”
However, as UK website Pink News reports, Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have both decided not to speak about the gay purge during meetings with Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials in the past few weeks.
In April of this year, Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow newspaper, made international headlines with an investigative piece claiming that gay men in Chechnya were being rounded up and sent to camps where they were being beaten, tortured and even murdered.
At the time Kadyrov dismissed the accusations, saying there were “no gay men in Chechnya,” adding that any gay man in the republic was simply pretending to be Chechen in order to “get to the West”.
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