Vladimir Putin's spokesman says the Russian president has no reason to disbelieve the Chechen leader's assurances that reports of detentions and killings of gay men in Chechnya have no basis in fact.

Dmitry Peskov also told journalists on Thursday that investigators have found no evidence to back up reports by the respected newspaper Novaya Gazeta that police in the predominantly Muslim republic rounded up more than 100 men suspected of homosexuality and that at least three of them were killed.

Putin met late Wednesday with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who told the president not to believe the "provocative" articles.

The reports, however, have been taken seriously by the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights and prominent international organizations, which have urged the Russian government to investigate.