President Vladimir Putin has vowed no athlete will be facing discrimination at next month’s Winter Olympics.
Hoping to ease international concern over a Russian law banning gay propaganda, he has offered his latest statement saying every athlete will be treated equally.
Speaking today (16 January), he said: ‘The Olympic Games will be held in full compliance with the Olympic charter, without any discrimination on any basis. Russia will be rooting for its own athletes of course, but we wish success to all the athletes.’
Putin, who banned all rallies at Sochi, was forced to allow ‘protest zones’.
‘I am confident the Olympics will bring nations closer together and help strengthen friendship, trust and partnership around the world,’ he added.
The International Olympic Committee has not commented on Russia’s gay propaganda law, but has said they have ‘received assurances’ no gay athlete or tourist will be arrested during the Games.
However Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov has said the gay propaganda law will remain enforced, meaning LGBTI athletes or tourists could be arrested, held for 15 days or even deported.