Chechnya’s leader has invited two heads of state to ‘search for the truth’.
Ramzan Kadyrov invited German chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s newly elected president Emmanuel Macron yesterday (30 May).
He did so in a message on his Telegram account which is now widely being publicized in Russian media.
Telegram is a WhatsApp-style cloud-based messenger service.
The message is also being spread on international news agency Sputnik news, established by Rossiya Segodnya which in turn is a news agency controlled by the Russian government.
‘It does not make sense to accuse Russian media of rabble-rousing and to, at the same time, utilize wrong information,’ Kadyrov said.
‘France’s president Macron can gladly bring along Merkel and visit the Chechen Republic on a search for the truth.
‘The doors are open to them.’
He published the message after Russian President Vladimir Putin met Macron on Monday (29 May) in Versailles.
In a following press conference, Macron said he had spoken to Putin about Chechnya reportedly operating concentration camps for gay men.
In response, he said, Putin vowed to investigate the ‘whole truth’ about gay men in Chechnya; Macron said he would remain ‘constantly vigilant’.
On the same day, France took in its first gay refugee from Chechnya.
On 1 April, liberal Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an article saying Chechnya had 100 men detained in a concentration camp.
Three men had been killed.
Later in April, they published another report, saying the number of camps had gone up to six. At least 200 men were believed to be illegally detained there.
Survivors spoke of violence and torture, in one case by means of a homemade ‘electric chair’, in the camps so they would give up the names of other gay men.
Chechen authorities have denied these allegations.