Elton John says he still hopes to meet President Vladimir Putin after being snubbed in Moscow this week.
The star was performing for his fans in the capital when he spoke about the long-awaited get-together with the country’s leader, who’s supported efforts to diminish the rights of LGBT Russians.
“As some of you may know, I had hoped to meet with President Putin on this trip,” John told the audience.
“Although it wasn’t possible, I’m deeply grateful to him for inviting me to discuss some serious issues in Russia, including LGBT and HIV. I very much hope we will find the time to meet in the future,” he continued, reported the Elton John Aids Foundation.
A spokesperson for Putin confirmed last week that the two were unable to meet because of conflicting schedules, although a meeting could still take place in the future.
In September last year, the singer was the victim of a Russian prankster pretending to be Putin, calling him to talk about the plight of LGBT people in Russia.
John’s husband, David Furnish, later revealed that after the embarrassing incident John and Putin had ultimately spoken on the phone and agreed to meet at some point.
In 2013, Putin signed a law prohibiting the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships. The “gay propaganda” law effectively bars any expression or discussion of homosexuality in public, on television, in print or on the internet.
The law has been blamed for increased anti-gay sentiment, discrimination and violence against members of the LGBT community.