MOSCOW – The White House says it was concerned at remarks by the leader of Chechnya who suggested any gay people in his Russian republic should be shipped to Canada.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has faced international criticism since a Russian newspaper reported this spring that his security forces had detained some 100 gay men, torturing or killing some of them. The Associated Press has spoken to some of the victims.
In an interview over the weekend Kadyrov insisted there are no gay people in Chechnya and added that if "there are any, taken them to Canada."
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that the State Department found these remarks "very concerning and also upsetting." Nauert said Washington has raised the issue with Russian officials "at the highest levels."