President Vladimir Putin says he will back a ban on foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian children, but denies it amounts to homophobic discrimination.

“If such a law is passed by the Parliament of the country, I will sign it,” President Putin said at a press conference at a European Union-Russia summit in Yekaterinburg on Tuesday.

“I think our legislation is very liberal in this way, and there is no discrimination, none at all,” he said.

“People of any preferences work and have careers and we recognise them at a state level in the areas where they work. I consider there are no problems here.”

Reuters reports the president was exasperated by a reporter, who quizzed him about the adoption ban

“Listen, you’ve worn me out with these same-sex marriages. Wherever you go! I went to Europe, they’re waving flags; I came here and again you’re nagging me about this,” President Putin complained.

“Really, we should be more tolerant and show less aggression – that applies both to people of traditional and non-traditional orientation”, he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said on Saturday that laws would be drawn up stating that only heterosexual foreign couples can adopt Russian children, and that marriage rights for same-sex couples was outside of Russia’s heritage.

Last week, the Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner, Pavel Astakhov, said it is only “logical” to halt adoptions of Russian children by French couples due to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in France.

In the light of France having passed a bill to legalise equal marriage on 18 May, President Putin said he was happy to consider changing agreements to block gay couples from adopting Russian orphans.

In March, President Putin ordered his government to look at introducing measures to ban foreign gay couples from adopting Russian children.