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Vladimir Putin calls Sir Elton John - for real this time

Russian president Vladimir Putin has called Sir Elton John and agreed to meet him, after pranksters recently called the musician pretending to be Mr Putin and his spokesman.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies on Thursday that Mr Putin called Sir Elton earlier in the day and "asked him not to feel offended" by the prank.

Mr Putin promised to meet the singer as long as the schedule permits and discuss "any issues that he is concerned about".

Earlier this month, the musician criticised Russia's law against gay "propaganda" and comments by Mr Putin suggesting that gay people prey on children.

Two Russian pranksters last week said they fooled Sir Elton into believing that the Russian president had given him a call, with the star posting a message on his Instagram thanking Mr Putin for calling him.

Mr Peskov quoted Mr Putin as saying: "I know that those phone pranksters fooled you. Please don't be angry with them."

"(Mr) Putin also said that he understands how popular Elton John is, so if their schedules permit, he will be willing to meet him in the future and discuss any issues that he is concerned about," Mr Peskov said.

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