Russia’s Number One Tennis Player Daria Kasatkina Comes Out as Gay and Slams Putin’s War in Ukraine

Russia’s number one ranked women’s singles player has called on Putin to end the brutal war in Ukraine and criticized her country’s attitude towards gay people after coming out as gay.

Daria Kasatkina, who is currently ranked 12th in the world and reached the semi-finals of the French Open in June, spoke out about the Kremlin’s repressive policies in an interview with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko on YouTube. Kasatkina, 25, also revealed that she has a girlfriend in the interview and said she was afraid to return home. “Living in a closet is impossible,” says Kasatkina. “Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters.”

Although homosexuality is not outright banned in Russia, it is illegal to share “gay propaganda” with children. However, homophobic attitudes are pervasive with horrific reports of human rights abuses against homosexuals, especially regarding Chechensmall Islamic republic in southern Russia.

In one 2018 ReportThe Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) concluded that “harassment and ill-treatment, arbitrary or unlawful arrest or detention, torture, enforced disappearance and unlawful execution” took place.

Kasatkina said in her interview: “A lot of subjects are taboo in Russia. “Some of them are more important than ours, no surprise. The idea of ​​someone wanting to be gay or to be [gay] ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than to live righteously. If there is a choice, no one chooses to be gay, why make your life more difficult, especially in Russia? What is the problem here?”

Kasatkina also added that it would “never be okay” if she held her girlfriend’s hand.

When asked what she most wants in life, the four-time singles winner said: “For the war to end,” adding that the conflict has become a “total nightmare.”

Russians who criticized the war faced fines and even many years in prison on charges that include “discrediting the military,” which may have simply referred to the invasion as “war” rather than “special military operations.”

Kasatkina’s comments come after both the Russian and Belarusian tennis players were banned from this year’s Wimbledon in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefit from the participation of Russian or Belarusian players with Championship,” the All England Club said in a statement in April.

Players from both countries will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag at the US Open in August. U.S. Tennis Association CEO and CEO Lew Sherr told the Associated Press that the decision to allow Russian and Belarusian players to participate in Flushing Meadows was made out of “concern about individual athletes being held accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments”.

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