British singer and composer Elton John has called for Ukraine to give stronger support to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) community.
John, who is gay and a veteran campaigner on gay rights, spoke on September 12 to business and political leaders at the annual Yalta European Strategy forum in Kyiv.
"Accepting people regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation is today the measure of an open, tolerant, and democratic society," he said.
The singer urged Ukraine's business leaders to accept LGBT people in the workplace, saying policies "designed to repress LGBT citizens ... hinder economic development."
In an interview with the BBC, John also criticized what he called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s "ridiculous" attitude to gay people.
Russia passed in 2013 a law banning so-called gay propaganda. Last year, Putin said gay people have nothing to fear in Russia as long as they “leave kids alone” – suggesting that gays might prey on children.