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Ukraine LGBTQ+ community in fear after Russian assault

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As missiles pounded Ukraine’s capital on Friday, LGBTQ+ rights campaigner Olena Shevchenko said the prospect of Russian occupation had terrified the community, with many joining an exodus from Kyiv.

While Ukrainian LGBTQ+ activists often encounter abuse and harassment from far-right sectors, Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has faced growing persecution since the Kremlin adopted a gay “propaganda” law in 2013. “It will not be possible (for LGBTQ+ people) to stay, especially if it is a long occupation,” Shevchenko, chairperson of LGBTQ+ rights organisation Insight, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a WhatsApp call from Kyiv.

As Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine entered a second day, she said she could hear explosions every 15-20 minutes from her home in the city.

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