After repeatedly stating that he would not be investigating the abuse of gay and bi men in Chechnya, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will speak with officials in the region after Russia's human rights ombudsman put in a request, reports NBC News.
Tatyana Moskalkova, Russia's human rights ombudsman, asked Putin Friday to create a group to investigate the reported persecution of gay and bi men in Chechnya, a semiautonomous republic within Russia. Putin told Moskalkova he would, calling the reports about Chechnya "the well-known information, or rumors" about men "with a nontraditional sexual orientation," according to NBC News.
Moskalkova had previously said that she had doubts that gay and bi men were being tortured or abused in Chechnya. A Putin spokesman previously stated,"We do not have any reliable information about any problems in the area." Chechen authorities claim that there is no truth to the reports because they falsely claim that gay men do not exist in the region.
Russian media outlets have reported that more than 100 gay and bi men have been detained and put in camps, where they are tortured and harassed because of their sexuality. Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta has reported that at least 30 men have been killed, not only in concentration camps, but some by their families.
President Trump has yet to comment on the reports publicly, but Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has called for an investigation. Former Vice President Joe Biden has called on the Trump administration to take action to protect the human rights of gay and bi men in Chechnya.