Putin Warns Gay Athletes To "Leave Children Alone" at Sochi Olympics | NBC Bay Area
Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Putin Warns Gay Athletes To "Leave Children Alone" at Sochi Olympics

LGBT welcome is frosty at Winter Olympics.

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, greets a well-wisher during a visit in the Olympic Hotel in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)

    The cold reception for gay people at the Winter Olympics somehow just got icier.

    Gay athletes are welcome in Russia at the Sochi Games, but only if "they stay away from children," according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Putin, who has made quite the gay-unfriendly name for himself, told reporters that gay people -- athletes and spectators -- must observe a Russian law banning "homosexual propaganda," according to the UK Guardian.

    "You can feel relaxed and calm, but leave children alone please," Putin said.

    Homophobic violence has surged in Russia since the country put the "propaganda" ban on its books, according to reports.

    Putin told reporters that unlike certain unnamed European countries which are close to legalizing pedophiles -- he did not say which countries these were -- Russia has "traditional" values, the newspaper reported.

    Gay activists in San Francisco have responded by picketing Russian churches and calling for a boycott of Stolichnaya vodka.