President Vladimir Putin, seeking to defuse criticism over his treatment of Russia's gay community, said all people will be welcome in the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Triggering angry criticism from the West and even calls to boycott the Sochi games, Russia adopted in June a ban on homosexual "propaganda" among minors, a law denounced by critics as discriminatory and aimed at stifling dissent.

"We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation" Putin told Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on an inspection visit in Sochi on Monday.