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'Welcome' but warned - Russia's Putin cautions gay visitors to Sochi

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'Welcome' but warned - Russia's Putin cautions gay visitors to Sochi

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Three weeks ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has reiterated earlier statements that gay visitors are welcome at the Games.

At a meeting with a group of young Sochi volunteers, Putin said, “We are not banning anything. We are not rounding up anyone. We have no criminal punishment for such relations, unlike many other countries.”

The Russian President, however, was also keen to stress the country’s ban on promoting homosexuality amongst minors.

“So one can feel relaxed and at ease, but please leave children in peace,” Putin continued.

Campaigners for gay rights have called for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics in protest at Russia’s law limiting homosexual propaganda, which was introduced in June.