German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect gay rights in Chechnya.

Activists say police in the republic have arrested and tortured dozens of people in an anti-gay crackdown.

Mrs. Merkel raised the issue during her first visit to Russia since 2015, which saw her hold talks with Mr Putin at his summer residence in Sochi.

Relations between the two nations have been strained over Syria and Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

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