Putin denies speaking to Elton about gay rights

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin has denied the Russian president spoke by telephone to Elton John, contradicting an earlier claim by the British singer that the two men had a conversation.

Elton John had claimed via his publicist he had spoken to Putin, after requesting a meeting to discuss Russia’s anti-gay environment.

The ‘Rocket Man’ singer, 68, posted a photograph of the Russian president on Instagram, writing: “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.”

However, Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was unsure how “authentic” a social media post from the star was.

The controversy follows Elton’s offer of talks with the Russian leader after speaking at a conference in neighbouring Ukraine, where he met with the country’s president Petro Poroshenko.

The singer had criticised the Russian president’s “ridiculous” stance on gay rights and accused Putin of saying “stupid things” in reference to his warning to gay people travelling to the Winter Olympics in Sochi to “leave the children in peace”.

Elton told the BBC: “Give me a break. You are president of Russia, and you go and say stupid things like that?”

He added: “I would like to meet [Putin]. 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.”

The star thanked Poroshenko for his “support” after meeting with him.

He captioned an Instagram photo of the pair: “After speaking at the YES Ukraine 2015 Conference today in Kiev, I met with Ukraine President Poroshenko about the importance of legislative changes to support LGBT rights.

“We need Ukrainian businessmen and power brokers to create a more inclusive and tolerant society. We need this everywhere!”


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