In a major ruling, the Russian Supreme Court declared the international LGBT movement as an "extremist organization," and issued a ban on its activities in the Russian territory, Al Jazeera reported.
The court ruling stated that "the international LGBT public movement and its subdivisions" were extremist, and issued a "ban on its activities on the territory of Russia".
The move is the most drastic step in the decade-long crackdown on LGBTQ rights in Russia unleashed under President Vladimir Putin, who has put "traditional family values" at the cornerstone of his rule, according to Al Jazeera
The judge said that the order would be effective immediately, but didn't specify whether certain individuals or organisations would be affected.
The hearing took place behind closed doors and without any defence present, Russian media reported ahead of the verdict. Reporters were allowed in to hear the decision.
The representatives of gay and transgender people fear that the Thursday order will lead to arrests and prosecutions, Al Jazeera reported.
"One day, it will be over but for now, we need to try to continue to live and save ourselves," the Feminist Anti-War Resistance", which is critical of Russia's war in Ukraine, said on social media in response to the verdict.
Other NGOs, including transgender rights group 'Center T', said they would publish safety guidelines for members of the LGBTQ community.
Yan Dvorkin, the director of the organisation, who fled Russia citing security concerns, called the legal proceeding a "new low point of insanity". He further said that the LGBTQ people were being used as "scapegoats" by Russian authorities.
Amnesty International called the ruling "shameful and absurd". It also warned in a statement that the ruling might result in a blanket ban on LGBTQ organisations and violate freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly, and lead to discrimination, Al Jazeera reported.
Notably, Moscow's crackdown against liberal-leaning groups has intensified since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year, which has seen the LBGTQ community in the country face increasing curtailment of their rights, according to Al Jazeera.
The Kremlin has since ramped up its rhetoric about protecting "traditional values" from what it called the West's "degrading" influence.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters before the court decision was announced that the Kremlin was "not following" the case and had no comment on it, Al Jazeera reported. (ANI)