British singer and gay rights advocate Elton John says President Vladimir Putin called him after the pop star expressed a desire to discuss gay rights with the Russian leader — a claim the Kremlin denies.
“Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia,” he wrote in a caption to a photo of Putin uploaded to his Instagram account late Monday.
Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look to forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia. @president_vladimir_putin @ejaf #lgbt #lgbtrights #ShareTheLove
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied on Tuesday that the Russian leader had made any such phone call to the musician.
“I can safely say that President Putin did not have a telephone conversation with Sir Elton John,” Peskov was quoted as saying by state-run news agency TASS.
The Kremlin spokesman said that no request had been received through official channels for a chance to discuss any issue, including that of LGBT rights, with the president.
“He [Putin] is always ready to clarify the real state of affairs,” Peskov added.
John, who regularly performs concerts in Russia, expressed a desire on Saturday to meet with Putin to discuss gay rights during an interview with the BBC.
“It’s probably pie in the sky … He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried,” he was cited by the BBC as saying.