Gay rights supporters demonstrate in Russia's St. Petersburg

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Although homosexuality was decriminalized in post-Soviet Russia, animosity toward gay people remains strong.

The Russia LGBT Network says that it has helped 40 gay and bi Chechen men flee persecution at the hands of the semi-autonomous Russian state. In April, another report came out that claimed that gay men in Chechnya were allegedly being killed or sent to makeshift prisons.

Spokesperson Svetlana Zakharova told BuzzFeed News that so far they have been unable to secure any of the 40 men a United States visa so they can get them to safety.

"As visa records are confidential under USA law, we are unable to discuss individual cases", they said. Only two have managed to secure visas while a handful have fled Russian Federation without visas.

Meanwhile, Lithuania has become the first country to grant asylum to gay and bisexual Chechens needing to escape their home country. Chechnya continues to deny the atrocities they are committing, arguing that there can not be any attacks on gay men in the nation because there are no gay men in the nation.

On April 20, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that allegations about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya were groundless.

On May 5, Moskalkova informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that she had been tackling violations of LGBT people's rights and asked him to issue instructions on setting up an inter-agency working group that would be active in Central Russia instead of Chechnya and receive people's requests if any were made.

A State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, "The United States continues to be concerned about the situation in the Republic of Chechnya, where credible reports indicate at least 100 men have been detained on the basis of their sexual orientation".

Haley said that the troubling reports coming from Chechnya "cannot be ignored, " and yet that is exactly what we are doing by turning them away.

Read the full story here.

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