Putin warns gay tourists 'to leave children in peace'

President Vladimir Putin says Russia isn't 'going after anyone'. Credit: Press Association

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is not "going after" gays as he defended a ban on "propaganda" about homosexuality in light of criticism from the West ahead of the Winter Olympics - before he making a comment about leaving "the children in peace".

"There is no ban on non-traditional forms of sexual interaction between people. We have a ban on propaganda of homosexuality," Putin told young volunteers preparing for the games. "We ban nothing, we aren't going after anyone, we have no responsibility for such contacts."

Putin went on to say that some U.S. states had laws considering criminal responsibility for gay sexual intercourse. "We have no such thing, people can feel free and at ease but please leave the children in peace," he said. Putin did not elaborate on what he meant by this.