Updated at 10:54,22-04-2019

'Single-sex relationships are a fake': Belarus slams the British Embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow gay pride flag on International Day against Homophobia

AFP / Mail Online

'Single-sex relationships are a fake': Belarus slams the British Embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow gay pride flag on International Day against Homophobia
The country's interior ministry in a statement on Sunday said it 'regretted' the British Embassy had flown the flag (pictured) the previous week
Belarus has fiercely criticised the British Embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow gay pride flag on the International Day against Homophobia, claiming that LGBT relationships are 'fake'.

The country's interior ministry in a statement on Sunday said it 'regretted' the British Embassy had flown the flag the previous week.

Belarus, ruled with an iron fist since 1994 by President Alexander Lukashenko, accused Britain of 'creating a problem where it doesn't exist' and of challenging Belarusians' 'traditional values'.

Lukashenko, a former collective farm boss, famously remarked in 2012 that it was 'better to be a dictator than gay,' after the European Union slapped sanctions on his country for rights violations.

'Single-sex relationships are a fake': Belarus slams the British Embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow gay pride flag on International Day against Homophobia

The embassy had earlier posted video of the flag on its Instagram account, flying between the Union Jack and the European Union flag

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Belarus after the breakup of the Soviet Union but, as in neighbouring Russia, it remains taboo.

The lengthy interior ministry statement lectured Britain on gay rights, arguing that these were an artificial concept since relationships between men and women are 'the only natural way to procreate.'

'Say what you will, but single-sex relationships are a fake,' the ministry said.

'The LGBT community and all this fight for 'their rights' and the community's day - it's all just fake!'

'Belarus is based on a foundation of traditional institutions of family and marriage,' the ministry said, adding: 'We support real things, they won't get away with it!'

A spokeswoman for the British embassy told AFP it would not be making an official comment, adding that it regularly flies the rainbow flag on May 17.

The embassy had earlier posted video of the flag on its Instagram account, flying between the Union Jack and the European Union flag.

Ambassador Fionna Gibb in a video on Twitter posted May 17 said that 'here in Belarus we seek opportunities to promote human rights and prevent discrimination.'

'Single-sex relationships are a fake': Belarus slams the British Embassy in Minsk for flying a rainbow gay pride flag on International Day against Homophobia

Belarus, ruled with an iron fist since 1994 by President Alexander Lukashenko (pictured), accused Britain of 'creating a problem where it doesn't exist' and of challenging Belarusians' 'traditional values'

She complained that a recent gay culture festival in Belarus had faced 'unwelcome pressure' and was barred from two venues after last-minute inspections by officials found safety violations, eventually going ahead at a secret location.

'It's so pleasing to see that the authorities showed such concern for the safety of the festival participants,' the ambassador said sarcastically.

'We must all address the legal, cultural and social change required to make equality a reality for LGBT people all over the world,' she added.