A Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson has awkwardly dodged questions about the reported abduction and persecution of gay men in the Russian region of Chechnya.
Russian media and human rights groups say at least 100 men have been detained and violently tortured because of their homosexuality in several secret prisons in Chechnya.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has repeatedly denied the reports of the persecution amid international outrage, but survivors have described their horrific treatment while detained.
In an interview with Yahoo News, spokesperson Maria Zakharova ducked questions from anchor Katie Couric on what Russia is doing about the abuse.
“This is not my issue. I’m not a specialist in that. [Russia is] holding an investigation as normal countries do in these cases,” she replied.
“This is not my field. My field is international relationships.
“I just told you all the information I have.”
Katie Couric asked a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman about the torture and killing of gay men in Chechnya.
Her response is telling. pic.twitter.com/WOpZNCeDjJ
— Raymond Braun (@raymondbraun) April 28, 2017
But a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month Putin has “no reason to doubt” the denials of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov because a Russian investigation found no evidence to confirm the reports.
Independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the outlet that broke the story, recently claimed in a new report that at least six Chechen prisons are designated to detain gay men accused of homosexuality.