France welcomed its first gay refugee from Chechnya on the same day French President Emmanuel Macron called on Vladimir Putin to investigate the alleged crackdown on gay men in the region.
In April, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that around a hundred gay and bisexual men were being detained and tortured in 'concentration camps' in Chechnya. At the time, the Kremlin said it had no confirmation of any gay men suffering abuse in the region.
During a press conference with the Russian leader, Macron said that he had emphasised to Putin "how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities."
"We spoke about the cases of LGBT people in Chechnya... I told President Putin what France is expecting regarding this issue, and we agreed to regularly check on this subject," the French president told reporters.
He added that Putin had told him during their meeting that he had taken measures to "establish the complete truth on the activities of local authorities" in Chechnya. He did not specify what those measures were.
On the same day the world leaders held their first meeting, the first refugee from Chechnya arrived in France. Joel Deumier, president of French gay rights' group SOS Homophobie, confirmed the refugee's arrival on news channel France Info on Monday.
"The first gay Chechen refugee arrived on French land," he told the broadcaster. "France has started to welcome Chechen refugees. This is going to continue."
When asked about Putin's claim that authorities were investigating the human rights abuses, Deumier said "that is not true."
"We hear Mr Putin say that there are no crimes against homosexuals, which is totally false," he said. "We can no longer accept this discourse of negation by Russia against homosexuals."
Before Macron and Putin's meeting, two gay couples unfurled a banner with the words "End homophobia in Chechnya" and kissed in front of the Eiffel Tower.