Listen: Sir Elton Duped By Putin Pranksters

The comedians Vovan and Lexus appeared on Russian TV to release the conversation, in which Sir Elton was asked to discuss gay rights.

Lexus, whose real name is Alexei Stolyarov, pretended to be Mr Putin, while Vovan acted as a translator.

Believing himself to be addressing Mr Putin through a translator, Sir Elton said: “Tell him that I am extremely honoured that he is calling me and that I am speaking to him.

“It’s a great privilege to be able to speak to one of the most influential people in the whole world. It’s amazing.

He added: “I am a musician and a philanthropic person and a humanitarian.”

Asked what he thought were the most pressing issues in Russia, Sir Elton said: “I think the violence towards LGBT people.

“They don’t feel safe. But this is something I don’t really want to talk about over the phone.

“This is something I can have a dialogue with the president face-to-face.

“And I would welcome that because things get done better¬† when you see somebody and you meet them.

“If both our offices can find a convenient date when we can convene and have a really wonderful discussion, then that would be a miracle and it would be fantastic and it would be a dream come true.”

Sir Elton posted on Instagram on Monday thanking the Russian president for “reaching out” to him and said he looked forward to a face-to-face meeting “to discuss LGBT equality”.

The Russian leader’s spokesman denied the call had taken place, but said Mr Putin could still respond positively to Sir Elton’s offer.

“The president has always been open to discuss human rights issues,” said Dmitry Peskov.

Speaking on Wednesday – after receiving an apology from the pranksters who impersonated him – Mr Peskov said the pair should instead say sorry to Sir Elton.

“I would recommend to apologise (to) Elton John, he is a respected and favoured singer here. It was not good to trick him like that.”

The singer first raised the prospect of meeting Mr Putin last week, during a visit to Ukraine.

Russia sparked an international outcry in June 2013 after passing a law banning what it called homosexual “propaganda” among children.

Before the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year, Mr Putin controversially said gay people travelling to the Games could “feel relaxed and comfortable”, but they must “leave the children in peace”.

(c) Sky News 2015