MOSCOW (AP) — Two Russian pranksters said Wednesday they fooled Elton John into believing that Russian President Vladimir Putin had given him a call.

The British star on Tuesday posted a message on Instagram, thanking Putin for calling him to discuss gay rights in Russia and inviting him to Moscow. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the reports, saying that Putin never called John.

Vladimir "Vovan" Krasnov and Alexei "Lexus" Stolyarov told Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda that they had fooled John by calling him on Tuesday and pretending they were Peskov and Putin. The two men, known for prank-calling Russian and Ukrainian celebrities for television shows, said the audio of the call would be broadcast on a prime-time show later Wednesday.

Last week John criticized Russia's law against gay "propaganda" and comments by Putin suggesting that gay people prey on children. He told the BBC he would "love to sit down with him" and try to change Putin's mind.

Krasnov and Stolyarov said John had been waiting for a call from Putin "very much" and that's why he instantly believed that he was really talking to the people who they said they were.

Krasnov said John told them that their call "made his day" and that it was "the most amazing" conversation in his life.

In comments carried by Russian news agencies on Wednesday, Peskov suggested that the two men apologize to John for the hoax, saying that he is "a much respected and loved performer over here" and that the hoax "was not nice."