Vandals Ransack Ukraine LGBTQ Center, Savagely Attack One Of Its Workers

By air, land, and sea, Russia has launched a devastating attack on Ukraine, a European democracy of 44 million people

A group of armed vandals took advantage of the wartime chaos to ransack an LGBTQ center in the capital city of Kyiv, attacking the center’s workers near midnight on Tuesday.

“the group of men spent an hour trying to break down the front door of the LGBT Human Rights Nash Mir Center. As the men tried, four center employees who reside on the premises contacted the police. However, police didn’t respond, possibly due to the country being under siege by Russian forces,” reports LGBTQ Nation. “After the vandals successfully knocked down the front door, they proceeded to trash and steal from the offices. One vandal even ‘seriously’ bit one of the center’s workers, injuring them.”

The center has helped educate and protect the legal rights of the local queer community for almost 20 years. Now, the organization is asking for donations to help recover from the vandals’ attack.

Some LGBTQ people in Ukraine are now fearing that they will be targeted if Russia occupies the country.

“That would mean a direct threat to me and especially, well, to me and to the person I love,” Iulia, an 18-year-old law student, told CBS News. She is training to be a lawyer in Kharkiv, an eastern city that could be a primary target for Russia if it launches a wider invasion of the country. She wants to use her degree to fight for LGBTQ rights in Ukraine.

“In Russia, LGBTQ people are persecuted,” she said. “If we imagine that Russia occupies all of the Ukraine or just a big part of the country, they won’t allow us to exist peacefully and to fight for our rights as we are able to do that in Ukraine right now.”

Russia formally banned same-sex marriage in 2021 and it passed a law against so-called “gay propaganda” in 2013, which made it illegal to equate same-sex and heterosexual relationships or promote gay rights.

“Ukraine is a European country. We have a 10-year history of Pride marches, and as you know, in Russia, the situation is like opposite,” Edward Reese, project assistant for Kyiv Pride, told CBS News. “We have totally different paths. … We see the changes in people’s thoughts about human rights, LGBTQ, feminism and so on. … So definitely we don’t want anything connected to Russia … and we won’t have them.”

Iulia said that while Ukraine still has a long way to go, it was making real progress in terms of acceptance of LGBTQ people.

“We still have a lot of things to do about our rights and our freedoms, but in Ukraine, you can fully express yourself,” Ilulia told CBS News, explaining that although Ukraine doesn’t allow same-sex marriage either, she believes it is only a few years away.