Russia criticises Boris Johnson’s ‘unacceptable’ Hitler statement
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Russia criticises Boris Johnson’s ‘unacceptable’ Hitler statement

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson had likening of the upcoming football World Cup to the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany.

world Updated: Mar 22, 2018 23:48 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Russia,British foreign secretary Boris Johnson,World Cup
Russia's ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, holds a news conference at the Russian Embassy in London on March 22, 2018.(Reuters)

Russia on Thursday slammed British foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s likening of the upcoming football World Cup to the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, terming the statement “unacceptable and totally irresponsible”.

Russian ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko said: “I am authorised to say that Moscow considers this kind of statements, made at the level of foreign secretary, in any way unacceptable and totally irresponsible.

“The British government is free to make a decision about its participation in the World Cup. But nobody has the right to insult the Russian people, who defeated Nazism and lost more than 25 million people, by comparing our country to Nazi Germany.”

Yakovenko’s statement came even as British Prime Minister Theresa May was on her way to Brussels to warn EU leaders to remain united against a threat from Russia to all European democracies. May has expelled 23 Russian diplomats from Britain over the alleged poisoning of a former spy in Salisbury — London says the Kremlin was involved in the nerve agent attack.

Addressing the incident, Yakovenko said that if the UK were a serious country, it should present evidence of Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of Serge Skripal and his daughter Yulia, adding that the burden of proof lay with British authorities.

“By now, no facts have been officially presented either to the OPCW (organisation for the prevention of chemical weapons), or to us, or to UK’s partners, or to the public.

“We can’t take British words for granted,” Yakovenko said.

Reiterating that Russia had no involvement in the incident, he claimed that Britain had a “bad record of violating international law and misleading” the international community, and mentioned “invading Yugoslavia (which was bombarded for 78 days), Iraq and Libya under false pretexts, and supporting the coup d’état in Ukraine”.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 21:16 IST