26 gay men have been killed in Chechnya's anti-gay purge, reports Russian newspaper

The Russian newspaper that first broke the story of Chechnya's anti-gay purge has alleged that 26 gay and bisexual men have been killed as a result. Horrifying accounts of brutality and killings have been emerging from the Russian republic over the last two months, after Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay and bisexual men aged 16-50 had been detained by authorities over the last few months. Earlier this week, the newspaper reported that the death toll from the purge has reached 26. It alleged that one of the victims is a member of Russia's National Guard, the Rosgvardia. However, they have denied that this is the case. "There have been no incidents where National Guard servicemen would be killed in the North Caucasian district according to the pre-investigation check," they said in a statement. Novaya Gazeta has previously wrote that they are “aware of six secret prisons, illegally (without due process) containing hundreds of detained citizens, including those suspected of homosexual orientation.” Last week it was reported small Baltic nation of Lithuania, which was once part of the Soviet Union, is openly welcoming gay men who are desperately trying to escape persecution. According to reports, so far two men have been granted Visas, and the county's Foreign Minister, Linas Linkevicius urging other European countries to do the same. He took to Twitter to spread the messaging, saying: "Today is zero-tolerance day against hatred, fear, discrimination of all forms of sexuality. Denying reality is not an option | #IDAHOT2017". It comes following reports that Donald Trump is refusing to grant visas to those escaping the country. A spokesperson for Russia LGBT Network told Buzzfeed news that the organisation is having “difficulty” securing visas that would allow the men to escape torture and possible death. While the spokesperson refused to name all of the countries that are pushing back, they did say: “We were informed that the US is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya.” However, the U.S State Department refused to comment on the claims, responding: “As visa records are confidential under U.S. law, we are unable to discuss individual cases.”