The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has confirmed Vladimir Putin’s warning to gay athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics, asking them to “leave the kids alone.”

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr Kozak said that Russian organisers will not discriminate against visitors or athletes because of their sexuality.

However, he also emphasised that, according to a law banning gay “propaganda” among minors, gay people cannot express their views on LGBT rights to anyone under the age of 18.

“Leave the kids alone,” he said.

This warning echoes a similar remark made by President Vladimir Putin last month, who said that gay people have nothing to fear in Russia as long as they leave children alone.

Putin signed the controversial law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.

Mr Kozak has long been a supporter of the legislation, where in 2011 he said the proposed bill would punish “disgusting activity,” and originally suggested that it should be applied on a national level.