Vladimir Putin Speaks on the Phone with Elton John
The British singer has been trying to arrange a meeting with the Russian president to discuss the gay rights situation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken on the phone with British pop singer Elton John, telling him that they could meet in the future and that John shouldn't be upset about last week's phone prank when a Russian comic called him pretending to be Putin.
"Putin called [John], said: I know that you were pranked by phone comics, but you shouldn't be angry with them, they are harmless, although that doesn't justify their action," Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
"And Putin said that he knows how popular a singer Elton John is, and if in the future their schedules connect, he will be ready to have a meeting with [John] and discuss whatever issues that are of interest," Peskov went on to say.
Ten days ago, John told the BBC that he would like to meet with Putin to discuss the Russian president's "ridiculous" stance on gay rights. The Kremlin's initial response was that there were no plans for such a meeting.
A few days later, comics Alexei "Lexus" Stolyarov and Vladimir "Vovan" Krasnov called John, and Krasnov pretended to be Putin. John fell for the prank and when it was discovered, he said he was "happy to be pranked" as the incident put "vital" LGBT issues into the spotlight.
John has long been concerned with the LGBT rights situation in Russia and raised the issue during his recent concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg.