The Kremlin press secretary Dimitry Peskov said that the real Vladimir Putin has phoned Sir Elton John and the two agreed a face-to-face meeting if their schedules will allow it.
“Putin said that if their schedules match accordingly, he’s ready to meet and discuss any issue which interests [the musician],” said Peskov.
The British singer who had previously fallen victim to pranksters who impersonated the Russian leader on the phone, said he wants to talk to Mr Putin about his “ridiculous” attitude to gay rights.
The Kremlin spokesman told Russian media that Mr Putin really had this time called the singer and asked him not to be offended by the previous hoax.
RT reports: According to the press secretary, it took some convincing from the Russian side for Elton John to believe it was really President Putin who wanted to talk to him.
“He (Elton John) was in doubt for a period of time” when Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Aleksandr Yakovenko, contacted him to set up the call.
However, “the diplomatic skills of our ambassador” convinced the musician, who eventually had a conversation with Putin.
Elton John made headlines last week when he posted a photo of Vladimir Putin on his Instagram page and wrote: “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.”
In recent month, the legendary British signer was the face of a campaign encouraging Russia to drop the 2013 legislation that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations directed at minors,” a law the singer dismissed as “stupid.”
But the Kremlin was fast to deny Elton John’s claims, with Peskov saying: “I don’t know who Sir Elton talked with, but I can responsibly say that Vladimir Putin has not spoken to Sir Elton John.”
It was later revealed that it were Russian pranksters, nicknamed Vovan and Lexus, who called the musician, not the President.
Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people, but has made comments which activists have criticised as being ambiguous and insulting towards gays.
Sir Elton, who plays to huge audiences in Russia when he tours, could not immediately be reached for comment.