In 2009, when legendary singer Elton John met Lev Ageyevya for the first time at an orphanage, the six-year-old boy was just a baby. John said at the time, “I would love to adopt him… he has stolen my heart.” However, Ukrainian laws stating that gay parents were not allowed to adopt prevented John and partner David Furnish from pushing through with this intention. Today, John is rumored to be behind the rescue of Ageyevya, his brother and grandmother from Mariupol, a city threatened to be overrun with Russian tanks.
Even after John was denied adoption rights to the boy in 2009 due to Ukrainian Laws and his advanced age, the musician never lost touch with Ageyevya and his grandmother, Yulia. Having two sons with Furnish, John declared back then that he would never give up on Ageyevya, and he has now made true on that promise.
Over the weekend, Ageyevya, his seven-year-old brother Artyom and 61-year-old grandmother Yulia were whisked away to Kiev with the help of Ukrainian socialite Olena Franchuk. A close friend of John’s, Franchuk took charge of sending a bus more than 460 miles to Mariupol to bring the family to the safety of the capital before Russian forces were slated to take over their home city.
— The Sun (@TheSunNewspaper) September 1, 2014
“People say Russian tanks will attack soon. I thank God for whoever helped us. We’ve been told we will be moved to a flat and there’s a school not far away,” said Yulia.
— Richard Galpin (@Richardgalpin) September 3, 2014
Franchuk reportedly told media outlets that John was behind the dramatic rescue, but a representative of the musician declined to comment on the matter.
John’s AIDS Foundation has collaborated with Franchuk’s Ukrainian Anti-AIDS Foundation, and he once gave a free concert in Kiev in 2012 to raise HIV and AIDS awareness.