Vladimir Putin offers to meet Elton John
Vladimir Putin has offered to meet with Sir Elton John.
The Russian president called the 'Rocket Man' singer to apologise after he was recently pranked by TV presenters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov and is keen to find the time for a discussion with the star, who previously requested a meeting with the premier to discuss his stance on gay rights.
Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said: "Putin called and said: 'I know you were called by pranksters. Don't get offended by those guys, they are harmless, though this certainly does not justify their actions.
"And Putin said he knew what a popular artist Elton John is, and if their schedules allow it, he is ready to meet and discuss any questions that interest him."
During the hoax call, the 68-year-old singer agreed to attend a gay pride parade in Moscow and spoke of his concern about violence in Russia towards members LGBT community.
He also asked for a face-to-face meeting with the president, whose country has long been blasted for its treatment of homosexuals.
Elton said: "I would welcome [dialogue] because things get done better when you see somebody and you meet them. If both our offices can find a convenient date where we can convene and have a really wonderful discussion ... that would be a miracle. It would be fantastic, and it would be a dream come true."
Afterwards he took to Instagram to post a picture of Putin and wrote: "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 (sic)."
The pranksters aired a recording of the conversation on state TV, before publishing it on YouTube.
They said they couldn't resist calling Elton after the singer recently said he would love to discuss the issue with Putin.
They told ABC News: "We just couldn't pass up this opportunity to see what Elton John would say if he thought he was really speaking to Putin."