fighting back

Ukrainian LGBTQ activists captured a group of Russian soldiers hiding in a basement

Pride march in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 2021

LGBTQ Ukrainian activists reportedly fought and captured a group of AWOL Russian soldiers in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Viktor Pylypenko, an LGBTQ activist and veteran who formed an organization to support other queer veterans in Ukraine and fight for the advancement of LGBTQ rights, said the Russian soldiers were discovered hiding out in basement that serves as the office of a local LGBTQ group.

Pylypenko rejoined the army last week to defend against the Russian invasion. Israel Hayom reports the activists fought and captured the soldiers.

Related: Here’s where you can donate to help LGBTQ people in Ukraine

“This is our war, the Ukrainians, but we have also been fighting as LGBTQ people, and I’m sure that the comrades in Kharkiv understood that,” he said.

“We are confronting a tyrannical, homophobic enemy,” Pylypenko added.

“Ukraine is a European country. We have a 10-year history of Pride marches, and as you know, in Russia, the situation is like opposite,” Edward Reese, project assistant for Kyiv Pride, said in an interview with CBS News at the onset of the invasion. “We have totally different paths. … We see the changes in people’s thoughts about human rights, LGBTQ, feminism and so on. … So definitely we don’t want anything connected to Russia … and we won’t have them.”

While same-sex marriage is not recognized in Ukraine, the country does offer some nondiscrimination protections to the LGBTQ community, such as in housing and employment. LGBTQ rights in Russia are less supported, including a so-called propaganda law passed in 2013 that prevents instructing minors of the existence of same-sex relationships and which has been used to crackdown on Pride demonstrations and other pro-LGBTQ events. In Ukraine, thousands marched in a Pride demonstration in September.