SOCHI, Russia, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The mayor of Sochi, Russia, the site of the Winter Olympics, said in an interview Monday his city has no gay people.
Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov told the British Broadcasting Corp. gay people were welcome at the games, saying, "Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and doesn't impose their habits on others."
When asked about gay people in Sochi, a resort town of 343,000 residents on the Black Sea, Pakhomov, a member of President Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party, replied, "It's not accepted here ... we do not have them in our city."
When challenged if he was certain Sochi had no gay residents, Pakhomov added, "I am not sure, but I don't bloody know them."
Opposition party leader Boris Nemtsov later noted Sochi has several gay clubs and asked rhetorically, "How do they survive? Why are they not bankrupt?"
Putin, last week, said gay people would be welcome at the Olympics but added, "We [in Russia] have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia."