NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia - President Vladimir Putin sought to ease concerns that Russia's new anti-gay law would be used to punish athletes who display rainbow flags during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, while insisting that gays are not discriminated against in his country.

"I assure you that I work with these people, I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields," Putin said in an interview with The Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television late Tuesday. "We have absolutely normal relations, and I don't see anything out of the ordinary here."

He added that Russians love Tchaikovsky even though the composer was said to have been a homosexual. "Truth be told, we don't love him because of that, but he was a great musician and we all love his music," Putin said.

Putin offered to meet with members of the gay and lesbian community if they asked to see him.

The law on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," which Putin signed in July, makes it illegal to expose minors to information that portrays these relationships as normal or attractive. The law imposes hefty fines, while also subjecting foreign citizens to up to 15 days in prison.

While Russian officials have reassured the International Olympic Committee that Russia will not discriminate against homosexuals during the Feb. 7-23 Sochi Games, they also have said that the law will be enforced. This has left open the question of what would happen to athletes or fans if they made statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda.

In the interview at his country residence outside Moscow, Putin said that they would not be punished. But he clearly has no intention of allowing a gay pride parade during the Olympics. Last month, he signed a decree banning all demonstrations and rallies in Sochi throughout the Winter Games.

Putin said he had full confidence in Russia's special services and law enforcement agencies to provide security during the games. Sochi sits just west of Russia's North Caucasus, where an Islamic insurgency is simmering.

"Terrorists are always a threat to someone," he said. "If we'll be scared of them, it means they have won. But that doesn't mean we can have a devil-may-care attitude toward this threat. We must do everything to stop these threats and not give the terrorists a single chance to demonstrate their brutality and hatred of mankind."

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  • FILE - Riot police guard gay rights activists who were beaten by anti-gay protesters during an authorized gay rights rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, in this Saturday, June 29, 2013 file photo. Earlier in the year, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that will impose hefty fines for holding gay pride rallies or providing information about the gay community to minors. Amid a surge of anti-gay violence and repression in several countries, the United NationsÂ’ human rights office on Friday, July 26, 2013 launched its first global outreach campaign aimed at promoting more tolerance and greater equality for lesbians, gays, transgender people and bisexuals. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

  • Gay rights activists hold a banner reading "Homophobia - the religion of bullies" during their action in protest at homophobia, on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday, July 14, 2013. Police detained several gay activists. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman)

  • Maxim Lysak, Jury Gavrikov

    FILE - In this Saturday, June 29, 2013 file photo, riot police (OMON) officers detain gay rights activists Maxim Lysak and Jury Gavrikov during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia. As the hub of the Soviet Union, Russia was reviled for rights abuses by many U.S. conservatives during the Cold War. Now some are voicing support and admiration as Russian authorities crack down on gay-rights activism. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

  • Riot police (OMON) guard gay rights activists who have been beaten by anti-gay protesters during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Gay rights activists shout slogans during their authorized rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Riot police (OMON) guard gay rights activists who have been beaten by anti-gay protesters during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Riot police (OMON) walk past sunbathers after an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Maxim Lysak, Jury Gavrikov

    Riot police (OMON) officers detain gay rights activists Maxim Lysak and Jury Gavrikov during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Riot police (OMON) officers detain gay rights activists during their authorized rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • An anti-gay protester, center, fights with gay rights activists during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Anti-gay protesters shout slogans at gay right activists during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-DEMO

    Gay rights activists take part in a gay pride event in Saint Petersburg on June 29, 2013. Russian police arrested dozens of people on June 29 after clashes erupted in the city of Saint Petersburg between pro- and anti-gay demonstrators. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Jury Gavrikov

    Riot police (OMON) officers detain gay rights activist Jury Gavrikov during an authorized gay rights rally in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 29, 2013. Police detained several gay activists, who were outnumbered by the protesters. Dozens of gay activists had to be protected by police as they gathered for the parade, which proceeded with official approval despite recently passed legislation targeting gays. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-DEMO

    Gay rights activists take part in a gay pride event in Saint Petersburg on June 29, 2013. Russian police arrested dozens of people on June 29 after clashes erupted in the city of Saint Petersburg between pro- and anti-gay demonstrators. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-DEMO

    Anti-gay demonstrators gather on the sidelines of a gay pride event in Saint Petersburg on June 29, 2013. Russian police arrested dozens of people on June 29 after clashes erupted in the city of Saint Petersburg between pro- and anti-gay demonstrators. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-DEMO

    Gay rights activists embrace each other after clashes with anti-gay demonstrators during a gay pride event in St. Petersburg on June 29, 2013. Russian police arrested dozens of people on Saturday after clashes erupted in the city of Saint Petersburg between pro- and anti-gay demonstrators. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-DEMO

    Russian riot police detain gay rights activists during a gay pride event in St. Petersburg on June 29, 2013. Russian police arrested dozens of people on Saturday after clashes erupted in the city of Saint Petersburg between pro- and anti-gay demonstrators. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-DEMO

    Russian riot police detain gay rights activists during a gay pride event in St. Petersburg on June 29, 2013. Russian police arrested dozens of people on Saturday after clashes erupted in the city of Saint Petersburg between pro- and anti-gay demonstrators. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)