Vladimir Putin promises no discrimination during Sochi Olympics
Moscow: No discrimination is foreseen during the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
"The Games will be held in a full accordance to the Olympic Charter, with no discrimination on any criteria," Putin said during a ceremony at the Kremlin Palace.
Last June, Putin signed a controversial law banning the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors. The move sparked outcry abroad with many athletes and celebrities called to boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Putin himself strongly denied that gay people faced any discrimination in Russia on the official level.
He said over 6,000 athletes from 85 countries and regions and hundreds of thousand visitors were expected to Sochi, vowing that the Games would become a big festival of sport.
The president reminded that foreign athletes could arrive in Russia visa-free for the period of the Games and said the event would make nations closer, increase trust, strengthen friendship and partnership between peoples.
"We wish success to all participants of the Olympics. We are always able to value brilliant success of any athletes from any country," Putin said.
The 22nd Winter Olympics are slated for Feb 7-23 with competition for 98 sets of medals. The Paralympics are to take place March 7-16.
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