Boris Johnson challenged Russian officials for anti-gay purge in Chechnya

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The UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with LGBT activists and praised their work in Moscow, where he came with an official visit to make the relationships between the UK and Russia at least a little bit warmer. The politician also raised the persecution of gay people with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, during the press conference which seemed rather awkward for both. The British official spoke about the importance of civil liberties in a speech at Plekhanov University, before meeting with a group of local LGBT activists praising their work in the country and adding that it is necessary to protect freedom of choice in everything, especially in love. “Met brave campaigners for LGBT, media freedoms & human rights in Russia. A free, vibrant civil society is a vital component of any democracy,” Johnson later tweeted. Speaking alongside Lavrov, Mr Johnson said: “This is a difficult time in the relations between UK and Russia, as Sergei himself has just said. We can’t ignore those difficulties, we can’t pretend that they don’t exist, and we don’t share a common perspective on events in Ukraine or the Western Balkans or, as the Prime Minister Theresa May has said, on the Russian activities in cyberspace. We speak up for the LGBT community in Chechnya, and elsewhere, as people would expect from us. But they would also expect that Britain and Russia, as two P5 [permanent UN Security Council member] countries, should be able, where possible, to coordinate and to work together on the issues that matter to our voters on the issues, that matter to people of the world. I believe that having talked many times to Sergei, and particularly after our conversations today, that there are things that we can do together as P5 member across the range of dossiers, as Sergei Lavrov has just said.”

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