Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Tuesday that the Russian president did not speak with Elton John by phone, as was stated in a recent post on the British singer’s Instagram page.
“I am telling you with full authority that President Putin has not talked to Sir Elton John,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.
However, Putin is willing to talk with John about any issues he may have, Peskov added. Putin is “always ready to explain the real state of things.”
Peskov questioned whether the Instagram post may have been faked.
John previously proposed that he talk with Putin about gay rights in Russia, where it is illegal to promote homosexuality in public if minors may be present.
The post, made on John’s Instagram page on Monday, said: “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 (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality in Russia,” the post said.
John’s publicist, Fran Curtis, told dpa that she had “no additional info” beyond what the post said.
Curtis had earlier appeared to confirm the telephone call when US website BuzzFeed quoted her as saying by email: “All I know at this point is that Putin called Elton.”
John had said he wanted to meet Putin to persuade him to be more tolerant.
“It’s probably pie in the sky, but I’d love to meet him and say, ‘come on, let’s have a cup of tea, let’s talk about this,'” he told the BBC.
“He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can have a conscience, to say I tried,” the singer said.
John met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Sunday to talk about “the importance of legislative changes to support LGBT rights” and ask him to pass tough laws against discrimination and “hate crimes based on sexuality and gender identity.”