London, Jan 18: Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly said that gay people would be welcome in the Sochi Olympics, although he warned them against spreading ‘gay propaganda’ among minors.
Gay rights campaigners around the world have called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in protest at Russia’s controversial new legislation, which prescribes fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18 ranging from 4000 roubles for an individual to one million roubles for organisations.
According to the BBC, denying that the Games are aimed at increasing his personal prestige, Putin said that Russia does not have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations and is only seeking to ban promotion of homosexuality and paedophilia among minors.
Putin further called on gay people to ‘feel free in their relationships, but warned them to ‘leave the children in peace’, and also added that as he had not designed the rainbow-coloured uniforms for the Games, he is not concerned even if they breaches the ban on gay propaganda.
Meanwhile, Putin also said that the Winter Olympics is a chance to boost Russian morale after the difficult years, which followed the collapse of the USSR in 1991, adding that Russia would ensure security for the games without it impacting unduly on the event.
Just before the New Year holiday, suicide bombers attacked Volgograd’s central railway station, which is near Sochi, and a trolleybus, killing 32 people and wounding about 70, which were followed by threats from Islamist militants to disrupt the Olympics with attacks, the report added. (ANI)