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Novoye Vremya is a Ukrainian news project funded in 2014.
Photo of three ​Ukrainian soldiers in trenches near Bakhmut, Ukraine
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Anna Akage

A Decisive Spring? How Ukraine Plans To Beat Back Putin's Coming Offensive

The next months will be decisive in the war between Moscow and Kyiv. From the forests of Polesia to Chernihiv and the Black Sea, Ukraine is looking to protect the areas that may soon be the theater of Moscow's announced offensive. Will this be the last Russian Spring?

Ukrainian forces are digging new fortifications and preparing battle plans along the entire frontline as spring, and a probable new Russian advance, nears.

But this may be the last spring for occupying Russian forces.

"Spring and early summer will be decisive in the war. If the great Russian offensive planned for this time fails, it will be the downfall of Russia and Putin," said Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Skinitysky added that Ukraine believes Russia is planning a new offensive in the spring or early summer. The Institute for the Study of War thinks that such an offensive is more likely to come from the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk than from Belarus, as some have feared.

Still, the possibility of an attack by Belarus should not be dismissed entirely — all the more so because, in recent weeks, a flurry of MiG fighter jet activity in Belarusian airspace has prompted a number of air raid alarms throughout Ukraine.

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Photo of a crowd at the London Pride 2022
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulo, Shaun Lavelle, Emma Albright and Bertrand Hauger

LGBTQ+ International: Lebanon Crackdown, 50 Years Of London Pride — And The Week’s Other Top News

Indigenous pride, Ukrainian drag queen carpenter and in-flight, same-sex marriage proposal, and plenty of other stories from around the world

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

  • LGBTQ+ rights at risk in Lebanon
  • London celebrating 50 years of Pride in style
  • An airborne same-sex proposal
  • … and more

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

🇧🇴🇦🇷 Bolivia And Argentina Hold First Indigenous, Cross-Border Pride

"Orgullo" means pride in Spanish


The first International March of Sexual and Gender Diversity was celebrated in the border cities of Villazón, Bolivia and La Quiaca, Argentina. Indigenous communities were front and center at an event demanding basic human rights.

"We were all dark skinned marching and that was the most beautiful thing, breaking the borders with indigenous queerness," activist Alexis Méndez told Agencia Presentes.

Rosalinda Ancasi, the first openly trans woman from La Quiaca and co-organizer of the event, said the aim of the weekend march on the border was to “help us achieve greater visibility and our demands gain strength. We seek to position ourselves as people who deserve to have more respect and affection from society.”

🇲🇽 One In 20 Mexicans Identifies As LGBTQ+

For the first time in history, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) of Mexico conducted a National Survey on Sexual and Gender Diversity. This data presented offers official statistics to guide the Mexican government to design and generate public policies to achieve a more egalitarian and inclusive society, Presentesreports.

The survey shines a light on some worrying numbers: 518,311 LGBTQ+ people were forced to go through a form of “conversion therapy”. Additionally, 1 in 5 trans people have been assaulted and forced to leave their homes. One out of every 20 people over the age of 15 identifies as LGBTI+ in the country. This means 5.1% of the country's total population, or about 5 million people.

🇨🇴 Colombia Allows LGBTQ+ People To Donate Blood

The Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that rejecting a blood donor for being homosexual, bisexual or trans is discriminatory, reports Sentiido media.

This decision comes after a Colombian gay couple took legal action when they were rejected as blood donors, despite being in a monogamous relationship, using condoms and having presented negative tests for HIV.

The Constitutional Court said LGBTQ+ people in Colombia can finally approach the country's blood banks to donate blood without fear of being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

🇺🇸 Disney’s Baymax! Series Features A Trans Man Character

Disney released a new series, Baymax!, a spin-off from its 2014 adventure-comedy movie Big Hero 6. The series is currently streaming on Disney+ and has already sparked controversy on social media.

The third episode features is a scene in which a transgender man buys tampons and pads. Some conservative viewers felt uncomfortable, saying such content was not suitable for children. The appearance of a transgender character is in line with Disney’s desire to be more inclusive by showing more LGBTQ+ characters and menstrual cycles. Recently, Lightyear, another Disney movie, was censored in several countries due to its portrayal of same-sex relationships.

🇺🇸 Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws Take Effect In Five More U.S. States

Florida Fovernor Ron DeSantis’s Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law went into effect last week in the southern U.S. state. The law bans any talk of gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, and also prohibits such discussions all the way through high school.

According to NBC, DeSantis has suggested this is only the beginning, saying in an interview with Fox News back in April that “things like woke gender ideology have no place in the schools, period.”

Meanwhile, following Florida’s lead, five other states passed laws on the same day impacting LGBTQ+ rights. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill preventing transgender students from using facilities like restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. In Indiana, South Dakota, Utah and Tennessee, a law now prohibits transgender women and girls in high school from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

🇺🇸 Flight Attendant Makes Passenger Announcement To Propose To Her Pilot Partner

Flight attendant Veronica Rojas made a very special passenger announcement on an Alaska Airline flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Passengers heard the usual sign, but instead of providing safety recommendations, Rojas proceeded to tell them how she had met her partner, the plane’s pilot Alejandra Moncayo, on the same flight two years earlier.

She then specifically addressed her girlfriend in Spanish, asking, “My goddess. With you, I’ll go to the skies. Would you do me the honor of being my wife?” before offering her an engagement ring. Moncayo said yes to the cheers of the passengers, who were all offered free tickets for a future flight by Alaska Airlines.

🇬🇧 Lancashire Town Rallies In Support Of Bullied Gay Couple

The community of New Longton, Lancashire has rallied around a local gay couple who were targeted with hate mail. The couple, Nathan Jones and Daniel Cooper, who run the local village post office, received an anonymous letter demanding they take down the Pride flag they had hung on the building. The letter claimed the village was a “Christian” area visited by children and that the flag was “revolting”.

A community member write an online post about the letter and soon garnered a flood of support for the couple, with residents staging a rally outside the post office. Chris Wilson, an organizer of the rally, said “I’m not a political person, I’m not a religious person, but I am a person who cares. I am a proud gay man [who] will stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone regardless of sexuality, gender, race or religion to show that love wins, love will always win.”

🇺🇦 A Drag Queen Making Coffins For Bucha: Another Sad And Bizarre War Story

Photo of Artur Ozerov built coffins, some of which were destined for Bucha

Ozerov built coffins, some of which were destined for Bucha

Novoe Vremya

Artur Ozerov from Kyiv is one of hundreds of thousands of volunteers helping the Ukrainian army and civilians during the war. Still, he’s got his own approach. The Ukrainian news outlet Novoe Vremya featured a profile of Ozerov, a Ukrainian civil servant, owner of an apiary near Kyiv, and a drag queen artist.

"When the full-scale war started, my first thought was: I won't go anywhere, I'll stay home. I have a big house — lots of bees and animals,” recalls Ozerov, whose drag name is Aura. “But if God forbid, something happens — a rocket hits, or something catches fire, who will put it out?"

About ten days after the full-scale invasion, Ozerov and his colleagues were called on by the army to help. Since he was good with wood and making frames and beehives for his apiary, it fell to Ozerov to begin making coffins.

He soon realized that some of them were destined for Bucha, the suburb of Kyiv where an untold number of civilians were massacred in alleged Russian war crimes. “When we produced the coffins and the number passed 100, I couldn't realize how many people died there… You chop-chop-chop-chop these coffins, and they tell you they need more and more. It was emotionally hard," Ozerov told Novoe Vremya.

🇱🇧 Lebanon Prohibits Events Promoting LGBTQ+ Rights

Lebanon’s Interior Ministry has called for a ban on events “promoting sexual perversion,” claiming such gatherings violate customs, traditions and “principles of religion.” The decision specifically targets LGBTQ+ activists, who have since reported having been questioned by security forces. A peaceful march to protest against the ban was canceled due to death threats amid an avalanche of homophobic attacks on social media.

Human Rights Watch and other associations that are part of the Coalition to Defend Freedom of Expression in Lebanon have condemned the ban as “discriminatory and unlawful” as it violates LGBTQ+ people’s constitutional rights to equality, free expression and free assembly. The queer community was already badly affected by the 2020 Beirut port explosion, which destroyed many gay-friendly venues and prompted a population exodus.

🇳🇬 Nigeria Sentences Three To Death By Stoning For Homosexuality

Three men, including a 70-year-old, have been arrested by the Hisbah religious police of northern Nigerian state Bauchi on charges of engaging in homosexuality. The three men all confessed and were subsequently condemned to be stoned to death by an Islamic sharia court. They were not represented by lawyers and have 30 days to appeal the sentence.

The court decision must be approved by the state governor to take effect, but homosexuality is generally outlawed in Nigeria. People entering same-sex relationships face jail time according to the country’s law, but the constitution remains neutral on religion. Yahaya Aminu Sharif, a 22-year-old singer who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2020 by another sharia court, has asked the Appeals Court to rule whether the sharia penal code is constitutional.

🇬🇧 UK Campaign To End Detention Of LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers

UK-based organization Rainbow Migration, which advocates for members of the LGBTQ+ community seeking asylum, launched a campaign called No Pride in Detention. The campaign aims to end the detention of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in the country, a detention that serves “no purpose other than to isolate and traumatize them.”

The government had already recognized in 2016 that transgender people are more at risk of being harassed or sexually and mentally abused but nothing has been said on LGBTQ+ people. The “No Pride In Detention” campaign calls for a 28-day time limit for all asylum seekers’ detentions.

🇬🇧 London Celebrates Biggest Pride Ever

The London Pride celebrated its 50th anniversary

Loredana Sangiuliano/SOPA Images/ZUMA

Last weekend, over 1.5 million people flocked to London for Pride celebrations, making it the most attended Pride in British history. This year’s celebrations also marked the 50th anniversary of London’s first Pride march. Labour member of Parliament Emily Thornberry took to Twitter: “50 years ago, to be at a demonstration like this was to take your life into your own hands. And actually, it was a protest, and it was also about just being proud of yourself, being confident, and looking the world in the eye and going ‘yeah, I’m different, so what?’”


  • Watch the cast of Netflix’s LGBTQ+ drama Hearstopper taunt protesters at London Pride.
  • Angel Flores, a trans olympic weightlifting coach, has become a role model for LGBTQ+ athletes.
  • Check out this list of 20 LGBTQ+ TV shows and movies hitting the screens big and small this month.
  • A meeting was held at the Swedish embassy in Uganda on how to support LGBTQ+ rights in socially conservative societies like Uganda.
  • A group of trans fathers in Argentina have come together to fight the stigma surrounding their struggles and to share their stories as parents. Read “What Life Is Like As A Trans Father,” which was originally published in Buenos Aires-based Agencia Presentes, now available in English on Worldcrunch.
Photo of a Russian tank destroyed during street fighting in Mala Shestirnya in Ukraine, with a white letter "Z" painted on the side.
In The News
Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Lavrov Reveals Slow Pace Of Russian Advances

Also: First Mariupol evacuations, Biden visit "matter of time," Lavrov's Jewish Hitler, Chechnya’s TikTok Fighters ... and more.

May 9 has long been an important day in Moscow, commemorating the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. Most Kremlin observers believed that Vladimir Putin’s new all-out assault in the southeast Donbas region was aiming to bring home at least a symbolic victory in time for what Russians call “Victory Day.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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But on Monday, Moscow-based daily Kommersantreports that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cautioned that Russia is not going to force a "victory" by May 9, which looks like a de facto admission that the assault has not progressed at the pace the Kremlin had hoped.

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President Zelensky in Kiev on Aug. 29
Anna Akage

It's Me, Not You: Zelensky Between Trump And Biden — And Putin

The impeachment storm in Washington comes with high stakes in Ukraine as well, especially for the country's own TV-star-turned-President.

Donald Trump's response to the Ukraine-related impeachment probe is nothing short of surreal, with the U.S. president now openly calling on foreign powers to investigate a domestic political rival. The view from Kiev, meanwhile, is surreal in other ways.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, who, like Trump was a television star before turning to politics, has proven to be much less able than his American counterpart to play both roles simultaneously. Embarrassed by the initial revelations of the July 25 phone conversation with Trump — in which he also criticized Germany and France for not doing enough for Ukraine — Zelensky has released a single statement on the subject: "I think you read everything in the transcript of the July 25 talk. I don't want to be dragged into the democratic, open elections in the U.S. We had a good, normal conversation. We talked about a lot, and no one pressed me," said Zelensky during a meeting with Trump last month.

The view from Kiev is surreal in other ways.

The affair is exceptionally ill-timed for the 41-year-old Ukrainian president, an experienced and quick-on-his-feet comedian who has nevertheless stumbled as a newbie in politics. "In Ukraine, the focus of attention is expected to shift to what position Zelensky took during Trump's phone call," writes Kiev-based online media Novoe Vremya. In particular, many were surprised by the phrase: "The next Chief Prosecutor will be 100% my man."

Indeed, the troubling constitutional questions around Trump pushing a foreign country for an investigation of rivals, leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, also threatens to compromise the integrity of Ukraine's political system. (It should be noted that Trump's call Thursday for China to do the same doesn't raise the same questions for Beijing, because of its lack of democratic institutions).

Zelensky and Trump in New York — Photo: Shealah Craighead/White House/ZUMA

In Kiev, First Deputy Chairman of Ukraine's parliament, Iryna Herashchenko, wrote in a Facebook post just after the first revelations: "On the topic of independence of the parliament and security structures, as it has to be in the developed democracy countries, I have nothing to add. Those institutions were formed for centuries, while ours are designed and appointed according to their Ukrainian top politicians' own needs. If we want to have a strong country, we have to do everything for creating strong, independent institutions. Not "100% my man" and not in a "your-wish-is-my-command" mode."

All the attention around closed-door dealings with major geopolitical fallout has raised a variety of theories in Ukraine of what really lies behind the story. Writing on the Ukrainian news website Levy Bereg, Oleg Petrovets suggests that it may have been Biden himself who orchestrated the leak of the phone conversation. Another of the authors' plotline has Trump as the source of it all, aiming to prod Biden into responding and thus shining attention on the corruption allegations.

As big as the Trump story is, the man keeping Zelensky up at night right now is Vladimir Putin. On Tuesday, after months of negotiations, Ukraine agreed to the so-called "Steinmeier formula" for new elections in the occupied territories of Donbass, which Zelensky hopes will bring an end to five years of armed conflict between the two neighbors. His domestic opponents insist that the Ukrainian president has given in to too many Russian demands in order to secure a summit with Putin later this year in Paris. "The Steinmeier Formula, to which the new government agreed, is elections in the occupied territories without Ukraine's participation," writes Ukrainian political analyst Serhiy Taran.

The man keeping Zelensky up at night right now is Vladimir Putin.

Still, even as tensions remain high in its own neighborhood, Ukraine is sure to remain at the center of events inside the halls of Washington — and hardly the way Zelensky had in mind when he was trying to warm up to Trump.

As summed up in a Facebook post last month by Ukraine's former Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. "Whatever happens next ... Ukraine will remain as the country that led to the beginning of the impeachment process of the U.S. president. Not a very cheerful prospect. But now everyone knows what we are capable of."