Pride participants injured in alleged far-right attacks in Ukrainian capital

Pride participants injured in alleged far-right attacks in Ukrainian capital
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A group of people who attended an LGBT Pride event in the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday were reportedly injured following attacks perpetrated by what the Kyiv Pride director said were far right groups. 

Ruslana Panukhnyk, the Kyiv Pride Director, told The Washington Blade on Thursday that far-right groups initiated multiple attacks on the LGBT participants over a period of about four hours. 

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Among other things, Panukhnyk said that one Pride participant “was heavily pepper-sprayed” near the group's Pride House. He alleged that another Pride participant was "pepper-sprayed by the group of the young perpetrators" a few hours later. 

He also told the news outlet that a group of young people were attacked near The Pride House. The Blade noted that one of the incidents occurred after a movie screening that coincided with Pride festivities in Kyiv. 

"We condemn the reported attack on individuals, including minors, during a Kyiv Pride film screening," the U.S. embassy in Kyiv said in a statement on Twitter. "We hope law enforcement, civil society & other community members will work together closely to ensure Ukrainians can participate in such events safely, without fear."

Panukhyk Told the Blade that seven people were attacked on Wednesday and that five of them sustained "heavy burns” due to the pepper spray. 

“Sadly, police didn’t respond well to the situation,” Panukhyk said. “Ambulance personnel did not want to assist injured persons, so they themselves had to carry their friend to the ambulance cart.”

He added that “as of now the majority of cases are filed and the victims are receiving proper medical and legal assistance."

Kiev held it first gay pride march in 2016 after the pro-Western government that came to power sanctioned the event. Thousands of people marched in the Ukrainian capital during Pride month last year despite attempts from opponents to block the demonstration. 

Marches associated with Pride have previously ended in violence in the country. A gay pride march was stopped in 2015 after right-wing activists fired smoke grenades at participants.