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Associated Press
In this Friday photo made available by Presidential Press Service on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a translation during an interview to Russian and foreign media at the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, which will host Winter Olympic Games on Feb.

Russian President Putin links gays to pedophiles

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered new assurances to gay athletes and fans attending the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next month. Yet he defends Russia’s anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles and says Russia needs to “cleanse” itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

Putin’s comments in a TV interview broadcast Sunday still show the wide gulf between the perception of homosexuality in Russia versus the West. A Russian law passed last year banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors has caused an international outcry.

Putin refused to answer a question on whether he believes that people are born gay or become gay. The Russian law, however, suggests that information about homosexuality can influence a child’s sexual orientation.

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