SOCHI, Russia (CNN) — Russia’s Vladimir Putin said Friday said gays “can feel safe and free here” at the 2014 Winter Olympics and then added, “but please leave our children in peace.”
Putin’s remarks came as he met with volunteers for the games, the state-run Itar-Tass news agency reported.
“We don’t outlaw anything and don’t nab anyone,” Putin said.
“That’s why you (gays) can feel safe and free here, but please leave our children in peace,” he added.
Russia has come under international pressure since its parliament passed a law last summer outlawing “gay propaganda.” The legislation makes it illegal to tell children about gay equality.
The law has been widely criticized by Western leaders who have called it archaic and discriminatory. Human rights activists say it proves Russia is unworthy of hosting the latest Winter Olympics.
Meanwhile, last-minute construction work continues apace ahead of the expected influx of 6,000 athletes from 85 countries and thousands more visitors from around the world next month.