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Russian president Vladimir Putin says gay people welcome at Winter Olympics

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Russian president Vladimir Putin says gay people welcome at Winter Olympics
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Russian president Vladimir Putin has moved to defuse controversy over gay rights in the lead up to the 2014 Winter Olympics.

He told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that everyone would be welcome in host city Sochi, “regardless of sexual orientation”.

It comes after Russia introduced a law banning “homosexual propaganda” among children, triggering angry criticism from the West and even some calls for a boycott of the games.

“We are doing everything, both the organisers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation” Putin told Thomas Bach, head of the IOC.