Vladimir Putin calls Elton after singer pranked by Russian DJs
Russian president Vladimir Putin has called Sir Elton John and agreed to meet him after Russian pranksters called the singer, posing as the president.
Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media that the president called Sir Elton and "asked him not to feel offended" by the prank.
A Kremlin statement said: "The reason for the conversation was the prank call the world-famous British singer received from someone claiming to be the Russian president.
"Vladimir Putin asked Elton John not to take offence at the bad joke and said that he would be pleased to meet with him if their schedules coincide and to discuss any issues of interest to the singer."
Earlier this month Sir Elton claimed on Instagram that he had spoken to the president about gay rights in the country, but comedians Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov later claimed responsibility for the phone call.
In the phone call, Krasnov and Stolyarov posed as Mr Putin and his press secretary Dmitry Peskov, with the fake Peskov translating.
The audio was released on Russia's Channel 1 and Sir Elton can be heard telling the pair it would be a "dream come true" to discuss gay rights with Mr Putin.
They made plans to meet face-to-face in November to talk about "the violence towards LGBT people" in Russia.
Sir Elton concluded the call by saying: "Please thank him for his time and tell him he's made my day. It's a very wonderful moment in my life."
Sir Elton had previously told the BBC at an LGBT conference in Ukraine that he wished to sit down with Mr Putin and discuss his "ridiculous" attitude towards gay rights and particularly the 2013 Russian law that bans the spreading of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors.