Evangelical preacher Franklin Graham has said in an Easter discussion that Vladimir Putin is ‘doing what’s right for Russia’ by implementing anti-gay policies.

Graham, who is the son of evangelist Billy Graham and the president of Samaritan’s Purse, made the comments on a special religious Easter debate on ABC News.

He was being asked about similar comments he made last month, but stood by his support for Putin’s policies.

He said: “Putin is going to do what’s right for Russia, and not what’s right for America, but for Russia.

“We used to have a president in this country that did what’s right for this country, but we don’t seem to have that right now.

“Putin is going to make these decisions that he thinks is best for the Russian people, and he thinks that taking advantage of children — exploiting children — is wrong for any group so they passed a law.

“So, I do agree with him.”

He continued to say that he believed gays could still go to heaven if they repent.

He said: “Maybe gays that are watching want to know, ‘Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?’ Absolutely. But the same for any of us.

“We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent.

“Franklin Graham is a sinner, and I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner.

“But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing’ to repent in turn, God will forgive.”