What's buzzing:

Russia's Putin warns against homophobia as Olympics approach

Reuters
Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to present officers, who were recently appointed to senior command positions, at the Kremlin in Moscow
.

View photo

Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony to present officers, who were recently appointed …

By Alexei Anishchuk

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin, who has come under international criticism for a law banning "gay propaganda", said on Wednesday that Russians must not "create a torrent of hatred towards anyone" including homosexuals.

The remarks may be aimed at easing concerns about the treatment of gays in Russia ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics which some activists have said should be boycotted in protest against the law.

Putin has staked personal political prestige on staging a successful Games and made a point of telling a Olympic delegation last month that gays would be welcome at Sochi.

At a meeting with leaders of junior political parties on Wednesday, Putin defended the law, saying it was meant to protect young people, but he added that hatred towards gays was unacceptable.

"You know how much criticism I had to listen to, but all we did on the government and legislative level, to do with limiting (gay) propaganda among minors," Putin said.

"In the meantime we should not create a torrent of hatred towards anyone in society, including people of non-traditional sexual orientation."

Kremlin critics and gay rights groups say the law, part of a conservative course taken by Putin in his third term as president, has resulted in a surge of homophobic sentiment and violence against homosexuals in Russia.

The United Nations General Assembly urged Moscow earlier this month "to promote social inclusion without discrimination".

Putin has said there is no discrimination of homosexuals in Russia.

Russia's sports minister appeared to say, in remarks published this week, that it might have been wiser to wait until after the Winter Olympics to pass the law.

"One could have calculated the impact it would cause in the West, especially ahead of the Sochi Olympics," Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was quoted as saying by rbc.ru website. "The leadership could possibly have put ... (it) on hold."

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

View Comments (18)
  • IOC may consider suspension of Kenya's Olympic body

    IOC may consider suspension of Kenya's Olympic body

    The IOC says it may be forced to consider sanctions against Kenya after its national Olympic committee was disbanded. The International Olympic Committee says it is ''extremely concerned'' by the situation in Kenya, where three senior officials … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Ryan Lochte to dance with stars, says Rio scandal overblown

    Ryan Lochte to dance with stars, says Rio scandal overblown

    Disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is joining the "Dancing With the Stars" cast, ABC television announced on Tuesday, as the gold medalist said he thought reaction to his tale about being held up at a Rio de Janeiro gas station had been blown out … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Schweinsteiger says MLS could be option if unused at Man U

    Schweinsteiger says MLS could be option if unused at Man U

    Bastian Schweinsteiger says a move to a Major League Soccer club in the United States is an option if he cannot regain a place in the first team of Manchester United. The midfielder spoke on Tuesday, one day before his 121st and farewell match for … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Arsenal sign Spanish striker Perez

    Arsenal sign Spanish striker Perez

    Arsenal have signed striker Lucas Perez from Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna, the Premier League club said on Tuesday. Perez, who also scored in Deportivo's opening La Liga win over Eibar this season, will fit into Arsenal's possession based … More »

    Reuters - 16 minutes ago
  • Lochte mum on Rio return, plugs 'Dancing with the Stars' gig

    Lochte mum on Rio return, plugs 'Dancing with the Stars' gig

    Ryan Lochte isn't saying whether he'll return to Brazil to face a charge of filing a false police report over a gas station encounter during the Olympics. Lochte admits he lied about having a gun held to his head at a Rio de Janeiro gas station, … More »

    The Canadian Press - 17 minutes ago