PRESSURE is mounting on council leaders in Glasgow to sever ties with a city in Russia in protest against the country's anti-gay legislation.

Activists want the local authority to end its historic twinning arrangement with Rostov-on-Don because of concerns about a law passed by Russia's lower house of parliament.

It allows heavy fines to be imposed on people providing information about ­homo­sexuality to under-18s.

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The legislation has been widely criticised by the international community and reports of violent attacks on gay rights activists in Russia have sparked condemnation.

Manchester City Council has already urged St Petersburg, its twinned city, to drop its homophobic censorship laws and yesterday Stephen Fry called on Prime Minister David Cameron to support moves to strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

A UK Government spokeswoman said: "We remain greatly concerned about the growing restrictions on LGBT freedoms in Russia and have repeatedly raised our concerns."

Read Stephen Fry's open letter to David Cameron in full

Glasgow City Council's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty has now written to her counterpart in Rostov-on-Don, Mayor Michael Chernyshev, expressing her concern about the laws and offering to "open dialogue" on fostering progressive policies with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities.

However, calls have been made for Mrs Docherty to go a step further and end the twinning arrangement, which has been in place since 1986.

A petition addressed to Mrs Docherty, which has been signed by hundreds of people, calls on Glasgow to "stand in solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia and against such homophobic laws" by ending the agreement.

It states: "We have an opportunity to call on Russia to abolish this draconian law, and Glasgow must take the lead in supporting the LGBT Community during this tough time.

"I call on you, as Lord Provost, to remove Glasgow's twinning agreement with Rostov-on-Don in Russia and make it clear to diplomats in Russia and across the world that Glasgow will not support such oppression on a community."

More than 500 people had signed the petition by last night.

Nicola Page, of Glasgow, wrote: "Glasgow must lead by example and turn their backs on such hateful ways. If Glasgow's new campaign is about how we, as citizens, are what make the city great - then we should stand to protect the LGBT people of Russia. It's the right, decent and respectful thing to do."

David Cherry, of Glasgow, added: "Human rights should be important to everyone. Bigotry and hatred of LGBT should never be tolerated."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said it was aware of the petition. However, it is understood the local authority wants to use its position as a twinned city to lobby officials in Rostov-on-Don on the issue.

In the letter to Mr Chernyshev, Mrs Docherty said she looked forward to visiting the city in September and speaking with him personally "about this important issue".

The Lord Provost said she was proud of Glasgow's support for equal rights and would be happy to host a delegation from Rostov-on-Don to "share more of our good experience of working to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens as a valued part of our city".

She described the twinning ­agreement as the first step in the two cities being able to share academic, cultural, sporting and business links.

"However, recently there has been a lot of media coverage about the Russian government's legislation in relation to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities as well as homophobic incidents," she wrote.

"Because of this, I am writing to express my concerns about the way people in Russia are being treated as a result of this legislation. We would hope any city we have a relationship with would uphold people's human rights and treat them with dignity."