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Kremlin Rejects Claim That Putin Phoned Elton John

Elton 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. Ernst Vikne / Wikicommons

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

A photo posted by Elton John (@eltonjohn) on 


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.

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