The president of Chechnya has issued a chilling warning to gay men in the region.
Britain’s deputy foreign secretary revealed the terrifying threat from the Chechen leader while taking an urgent question on the situation in parliament.
Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, told parliament: “Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
“He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community.
“Sources have said that he wants the [LGBT] community eliminated by the start of Ramadan.”
The minister added: “Such comments, attitudes and actions are absolutely beyond contemptible.”
PinkNews has spoken to the Foreign Office, who verified that President Kadyrov had made the threat in local Russian language media, seen by the UK government.
Ramadan starts on May 26 this year, and is widely celebrated in Chechnya, which is a predominantly Muslim area.
These allegations have been supported by human rights groups, and led to the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, UK and US governments to call for the Kremlin to investigate.
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s deputy, who is gay himself, labelled the reported abuses of gay men as “utterly barbaric” and “despicable” in a strongly worded statement to the Commons.
Mr Duncan revealed that he spoke directly to his counterpart, Russia’s deputy foreign secretary Vladimir Titov, to challenge the Russian Federation on human rights abuses against LGBT people.
British Embassy representatives have also spoken directly to the Russian government to raise the issue.