Diplomatic Row As USA Embassy In Moscow Flies The Flag

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has hung a rainbow flag on its front facade, photos posted on social media Thursday show sparking a diplomatic row.

Starting Thursday, Russians will vote on a set of constitutional amendments that would add language defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman to Russia’s basic law. The provision has been criticised by Russian LGBT activists, who say it would effectively prevent gay marriage from ever being legalised.

The Kremlin wasn’t amused and spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday commenting on the US Embassy in Moscow flying a rainbow flag.

“We don’t see the building of the US Embassy from the Kremlin. But our Foreign Ministry definitely does,” Peskov said answering a question on whether the Kremlin had noticed the breach of Russian laws. “In any case, the propaganda of untraditional sexual minorities [among youngsters] is prohibited by law in our country,” Peskov stressed.

“LGBTI rights are human rights. Human rights are universal,” the embassy wrote on its Instagram. “Everyone deserves to live free from hatred, prejudice and persecution.”

Displays of the rainbow flag are uncommon in Russia, where the display of “homosexual propaganda toward minors” is outlawed and intolerant attitudes toward the LGBT+ community persist. 

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump banned the country’s embassies from flying the rainbow flag during June, which is celebrated as LGBT Pride month around the world. Because the ban only applies to official flagpoles, embassies have placed the flag inside their buildings and hung it on exterior walls as workarounds.

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