(Washington Post) President Vladimir Putin said Friday that ‘gay’ people have nothing to fear in Russia as long as they leave children alone.

Putin met with a group of volunteers in the Olympic mountain venue at Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi on Friday to wish them success at the Games. During a question-and-answer session, a volunteer asked him about Russia’s attitudes toward gays, a subject that has provoked worldwide controversy, and Putin offered what was apparently meant to be a reassuring answer for visitors to the Olympics.

“One can feel calm and at ease,” he said. “Just leave kids alone, please.”

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