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Sir Elton can have Lev ... if I can come too
Tuesday, October 6 2009

Ukrainian former drug addict Sergey, 31, brazenly suggested Elton might pay for him and 15-month-old Lev to live in Britain.

He told The Sun: "I'm not against the idea of Elton becoming a guardian. I would be willing to meet Elton and talk about it. I don't mind my boy going to Britain to be with Elton - as long as I can go too, so I can take care of him."

The Sun revealed on October 5, 2009 that Sergey and Lev's mother Marina live separately in squalid flats in a grim Ukrainian industrial town. Both are HIV positive. Marina, 25, is an alcoholic who had both her sons taken from her - and Sergey served eight years for strangling a 14-year-old girl.

Even if the singer could legally adopt Lev, his parents insist they would never allow it. Skint and jobless shoemaker Sergey said: "No matter how much money he offers, I wouldn't agree to an adoption. I'm Lev's father." Then, seeing the chance to cash in, he went on: "I know Elton is a rich man. Maybe he could help Marina and me and the boys get a flat so we could be a family again. That would be ideal. And if Elton could buy me a shoe shop, that would be great."

Sergey spoke as he and his mother Yulia, 55, made an emotional reunion trip from their home in Mariupol to the Makeyevka orphanage, where Lev and Artyom are in care. As the boys ran into her arms, Yulia could not hold back her tears. She said: "Lev hugged me tight. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to scoop the boys up and take them home. I brought Lev a toy keyboard because he is so musical. I want to teach him some of Elton's songs."

She went on: "When we arrived, Artyom said, 'Hello, Granny' and kissed me. I took Lev in my arms and the tears welled in my eyes. These boys are like my own children." Yulia handed out presents and sweets to her grandsons, adding: "It was terrible when we waved goodbye. Lev didn't know what was happening but Artyom was screaming and holding my dress, saying, 'Granny, please take me home, please'. The staff took them away and I heard them crying." Yulia also made it clear the impoverished family are willing to do a deal.

She added: "I don't want Elton to adopt the children. But it would be OK if he was the boys' guardian. Lev is so sweet, he took Elton's heart away. He could give them a good life. But he must look after the boys' parents too and keep them together as a family. Elton could be godfather."
Tattooed Sergey, like Marina, is confident their sons will be returned to them.

He insisted: "I don't think my criminal record is an obstacle." And Yulia does not seem to see her son as a murderer. She said: "Sergey was just 19. He went for a walk with a pretty girl. She accidentally stood on his foot and he grabbed her by the neck and threw her in a lake. He ran away and she died."

The home where Lev and Artyom live specialises in children from families affected by HIV. Director Viktor Goncharov, 55, said: "It's best for the boys if they go to their family. "But Sergey needs to get a job and sort himself out. Then a court will decide."

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