An LGBTQ rights group in Ukraine on Tuesday said a group of “bandits” broke into their office in the country’s capital and attacked four activists who were inside.
Nash Mir Coordinator Andriy Maymulakhin in an email to supporters wrote that “some unknown people broke (the) door in our office in” Kyiv where four of his colleagues were living and “brutally beat them and robbed (them.)”
An LGBTQ activist in the Ukrainian capital with whom the Washington Blade spoke on Tuesday confirmed the Nash Mir staffers who were attacked “are safe.” It is not immediately clear who carried out the attack, but it took place against the backdrop of Russian troops’ continued advance towards Kyiv.
Magomed Tushayev, a Chechen warlord who played a role in the anti-LGBTQ crackdown in his homeland, on Saturday died during a skirmish with the Ukrainian military’s elite Alpha Group outside of Kyiv. A White House official late last week told the Blade the Biden administration has “engaged directly” with LGBTQ Ukrainians and other groups that Russia may target if it gains control of their country.
‘I am not going anywhere’
Olena Shevchenko, chair of Insight, another Ukrainian LGBTQ rights group, in a post to her Facebook page on Tuesday said she heard “powerful explosions nearby” in reference to the destruction of Kyiv’s main TV tower. Shevchenko, who lives in Kyiv, in another Facebook post on Tuesday wrote the city “is under permanent bombing all the time.”
“It’s the sixth day of this nightmare,” wrote Shevchenko. “Many of my friends are spending all night in the basements or subway stations. My parents told me they put Ukrainian flag on their balcony. They are not going anywhere, it’s their home. I am not going anywhere, it’s my home too. We are staying and continue to help others as much as we can do in these circumstances.”
Anna Sharyhina is the co-founder of the Sphere Women’s Association, which is based in Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city that is less than 30 miles from the Russian border in the eastern part of the country.
Sharyhina on Tuesday posted to her Facebook page a video of a Russian missile strike a regional administration building in Kharkiv that is on the city’s Freedom Square.
“I am in Kharkiv right now with my family in an extended compound,” said Sharyhina on Tuesday in another post to her Facebook page that she wrote in Russian. “We live close to the city center and here a lot of sounds. We go into a room without windows.”
Sharyhina in the same Facebook post pleaded with Russia to stop shelling Kharkiv.
“I know that the European Parliament is meeting now,” wrote Sharyhina. “Everyone asks me what will we be, given the status of a candidate country, and I don’t know what to answer, but let the explosions in Kharkiv stop, so we can at least do something.”