It is of utmost importance to stand up for Ukraine and its LGBTQI community in ensuring action is taken


As Putin, to the surprise and anger of many across the globe, announced this morning that Russian forces would be undertaking a “special military operation” in Ukraine, our thoughts are with the queer community in Ukraine. Their borders were breached in multiple places and explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa, with Ukraine’s foreign minister describing this attack as a “full-scale invasion”.

Described as “the biggest European invasion since World War Two”, Russia’s actions are seen as “an egregious violation of international law” by Liz Truss, Secretary Of State For Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs. Whilst the conflict between the two countries has been ongoing since 2014, in recent months tensions have escalated as Russian troops have been built up and moved to Ukraine’s borders. 

US President Joe Biden engaged in multiple talks with President Putin in attempts to de-escalate the situation to no avail, with Putin unwilling to compromise on particular demands around NATO involvement in or acceptance of Ukraine and other former Soviet nations. This timeline of the situation provides useful information as to how we arrived at the present situation. 

Kyiv Pride released an English language statement, asking their supporters across the world to “call on your governments to stand up and to take action against the war in Ukraine”. 

This came alongside the group’s message of resistance in Ukrainian, saying “We remain strong, we are not intimidated. Putin will break all his teeth trying to bite us.”

“We have left far behind the past to which he seeks to draw us. We are a country that has chosen the values of human rights, humanity, life and personality.”

“Putin lives in the past, he has a place there.”

This show of strength and solidarity from Kyiv Pride is an inspiration and affirms the Ukrainian queer community’s willingness to fight for their freedom. The director of Kyiv Pride, Lenny Emson spoke to Pink News in January, saying “On this point we are united. It doesn’t matter what your gender identity is, your sexual orientation – all together, we are stepping forward” in a powerful statement against Putin. 

Kyiv Pride has since urged citizens to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. 

This development in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is particularly worrying as it comes not even a week after anonymous US officials spoke to Foreign Policy and stated that Russia “would likely target those who oppose Russian actions… and vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons.” Echoing the sentiments of Kyiv Pride’s statement, it is of utmost importance to stand up for Ukraine and its LGBTQI community in ensuring action is taken.

DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 

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