Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that his country does not have a problem with sexual minorities. According to him, the issue has been “deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons.”

Russia banned "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" in 2013. According to the Russian law, same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children. A Human Rights Watch report in 2014 showed a rise in anti-gay harassment and violence after the law had been passed.

Putin said in an interview that the United States reportedly still have laws on the books against same-sex relations. Russia, on the other hand, has “no persecution at all."

“People of non-traditional sexual orientation work, they live in peace, they get promoted, they get state awards for their achievements in science and arts or other areas,” CBS News quoted the Russian president as saying. “I personally have awarded them medals.”

Putin defends Russia’s “gay propaganda” law which, according to him, is not “un-democratic.” According to him, the law is not an infringement on gay rights. The law, on the contrary, gives children a chance to realize if they consider themselves males or females. “Do they want to live in a normal, natural marriage or a non-traditional one?” Putin asked.

The Russian leader also agreed to meet Elton John, the internationally acclaimed singer who is also an advocate of gay rights. John also wanted to meet the Russian president to express his concerns about gay rights violations in Russia.