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As the Russian invasion of Ukraine gathers pace, the United States has written to the United Nations, claiming that there is a Russian kill list of “journalists and anti-corruption activists, and vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons”, warning that those on the list could fall victim to “targeted killings, kidnappings/forced disappearances, detentions, and the use of torture.”

LGBTQ+ communities in former communist countries have struggled for acceptance and to have their rights enshrined in equality legislation – including countries now in the EU like Poland and Hungary – but Ukraine, while not yet having come as far as western countries – has certainly been doing a lot better than many of their former eastern bloc neighbours, with aspirations to join the EU which, for the time being, appear to be in tatters.

Ukraine’s LGBTQ+ community has already stepped up to the plate in efforts to defend the nation against the Russian invasion, signing up to serve in the military and donating blood which, sadly, looks likely to be in high demand.

Speaking to American network CBS, LGBTQ+ activist Iliulia said, “I would try not to be caught, basically because, you know, even my Twitter profile, it’s enough for them to imprison me. And imprisonment is the best thing that could happen to me in this situation.”

Another activist – known as Reese – who works with Kyiv Pride, told CBS, “I know that like yesterday, the fund to support Ukrainian army has reached a maximum in its history for donations. And the Kyiv Pride also posted the call to donate, and I know that LGBT people did it. And I myself donated also for the medical battalions.”

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