Elton John will no longer meet Vladimir Putin ahead of Moscow gig

Singer had official invitation from Kremlin following prank call last year

Elton John will not meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin when playing a gig in Moscow later this month despite a previous invitation to do so.

Last year, John fell victim to pranksters who impersonated Russia’s leader on the phone. A message on the musician’s Instagram account had thanked Mr Putin for “reaching out” in a phone conversation, but it was later revealed that the hoax phone call was a prank for Russian TV. The prank call came John described Putin’s attitude to gay people as “isolating and prejudiced” and “ridiculous”.

The incident led to John being officially invited to meet Putin, but now Reuters reports that this will no longer go ahead as planned.

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“We were in correspondence with him [Elton John] a couple of weeks ago, because there had been an agreement that, if their schedules allow, this meeting would take place,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“President Putin expressed readiness for this meeting. But this time, the meeting won’t take place, unfortunately. Their schedules do not match up. But this does not mean that such a meeting won’t take place next time.”

John will perform in Moscow on 30 May.