Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated his claim that Russia is not homophobic.

According to the AFP, the Russian leader said on Thursday during his state-of-the-address that “healthy family” and traditional values were among Russia's top priorities.

“Traditional family, a healthy nation is our strategic choice,” Putin told rights activists at the Kremlin the following day.

“This should not look as if we intend to persecute people of some non-traditional orientation. One does not preclude the other. I believe that such balanced approach is absolutely the right one.”

Last year, Putin signed into law bills which prohibit the promotion of “homosexual propaganda” to minors and ban adoptions by gay parents.

Putin denied the nation was homophobic, calling such criticism “a label forced on Russia by other countries which have criminal responsibility for people of non-tradition sexual orientation.”

“Society which cannot protect its children does not have a future,” he added.