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Elton John: I want to meet Putin over gay rights
Sunday, September 13 2015

Elton John says he wants to meet Vladimir Putin to discuss what he called the Russian president's "ridiculous" attitude to gay rights.

A report by Human Rights Watch last year said Russia was failing to prevent and prosecute homophobic violence amid a rise in attacks against minorities. Speaking to the BBC, Elton said he would welcome talks with Mr Putin even though "he may laugh behind my back... and call me an absolute idiot". The musician is currently in Ukraine.

He met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and called for the country to give stronger support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-sexual (LGBT) community. Elton also met with business leaders to call on them to not turn away LGBT employees.

Ukraine's neighbour, Russia, passed a law in June 2013 that prosecuted private individuals promoting "homosexual behaviour among minors". Elton criticised the move, and comments Mr Putin made last year, indicating gay people targeted children. "Give me a break," Elton said. "You are President of Russia, and you go and say stupid things like that?"

He said Mr Putin's attitude to gay people was "isolating and prejudiced" and "ridiculous". "I would like to meet [Mr Putin]," Sir Elton told the BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Bridget Kendall. "It's probably pie in the sky... He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried."

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