Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has spoken in his first interview with Western media about the murder of gay men in the autonomous Russian region.
HBO reporter David Scott confronted Kadyrov about reports of the “roundup, abduction and torture of gay men in the Republic”.
Kadyrov laughs and asks someone off camera: “Why did he come here?” he says to someone off camera. “What's the point of these questions?”
He continues chuckling and then replies stonily: “This is nonsense”.
“We don't have those kinds of people here. We don't have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada.”
“Praise be to god,” he adds. “Take them far from us so we don't have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.”
Scott then asks if Kadyrov is concerned about the reports, as a matter of law and order, as the leader strokes his beard and smiles.
“They are devils. They are for sale. They are not people,” he says. “God damn them for what they are accusing us of. They will have to answer to the almighty for this.”
The interview is part of an upcoming episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that focuses on how the Chechen leader uses mixed martial arts (MMA) as an “arm of his government and a breeding ground for the military”.
In a teaser clip for the episode, Kadyrov says that America is “conducting an anti-Russian policy” but adds that he’s “ready to give his life for Russia” and that he “has a good army”.
“America is not really a strong enough state for us to regard it as an enemy of Russia,” he says.
“We have a strong government and are a nuclear state. Even if our government was completely destroyed, our nuclear missiles would be automatically deployed.”
You can watch the trailer below: