Elton John had promised to challenge Vladimir Putin over gay rights when he played in Russia - and it sounds like he delivered.

The singer told the audience the oppressive crackdown on gay "propaganda" was "inhumane" and "isolating".

It essentially bans displays of homosexuality and makes it "illegal to spread information about non-traditional sexual behaviour" to under 18s.

Sir Elton had previously promised to raise the issue during his concerts, which a group of hard-liners tried to ban.

The singer told the audience in Moscow the laws made him "sad".

During a break between songs, he spoke of his love for Russian culture, and went on: "But most of all, I love you, the people.

“You took me to your hearts all those years ago, and you have always welcomed me with warmth and open arms every time I have visited. You have always embraced me, and you have never judged me.

“So I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating.”

He said the concert was dedicated to Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23-year-old man reported to be the victim of a homophobic murder.

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