Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the anti-gay law he signed “does not hurt anyone.”

Putin appeared on ABC's This Week to promote next month's Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi.

“It seems to me that the law that we have adopted does not hurt anyone,” Putin told George Stephanopoulos.

The law, which prohibits the promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors, was used over the weekend to arrest a man for waving a rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, as the Olympic torch passed through Voronezh, the AP reported.

Stephanopoulos asked whether visitors attending the Sochi Games would be arrested for protesting.

“Acts of protest and acts of propaganda are somewhat different things,” Putin answered. “They are close, but if we were to look at them from the legal perspective, then protesting a law does not amount to propaganda of sexuality or sexual abuse of children. That's one. Two is that I'd like to ask our colleagues, my colleagues and friends, that as they try to criticize us, they would do well to set their own house in order first. I did say, after all, and this is public knowledge, that in some of the states in the U.S., homosexuality remains a felony.”

Stephanopoulos noted that “the Supreme Court has struck those laws down.”

Putin continued: “How are they in a position to criticize us for what is a much softer, liberal approach to these issues than in their own country? I know that this isn't something that can be easily done. This is so because there are a lot of folks in the U.S. who share the view that the legislation in their state or in their nation is appropriate, well grounded, and is in sync with the sentiment of the vast majority of the population.”

And he insisted that “in this country, everybody is absolutely equal to anybody else, irrespective of one's religion, sex, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

“So no concerns exist for people who intend to come as athletes or visitors to the Olympics,” Putin said.