- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

LONDON (AP) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says it is sickening to think of President Vladimir Putin “glorifying” in Russia hosting the World Cup.

After the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Britain said it would not send royals or government ministers to the soccer tournament, though the England team will compete.

Speaking to Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Johnson agreed with a Labour lawmaker who likened the event to Adolf Hitler’s use of the 1936 Olympics as a propaganda vehicle for his regime.

“I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. I think it’s an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event,” Johnson said.

In reply, Russia denounced Johnson as unprofessional.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Johnson is “poisoned with venom of hate, unprofessionalism and boorishness,” adding that “it’s scary to remember that this person represents the political leadership of a nuclear power.”

She said on Facebook that Johnson’s statements were “unacceptable, unworthy of a top European diplomat,” adding that it reflected London’s efforts to cast Russia as an enemy using the most absurd reasons in order to boycott the World Cup.

Johnson said the British government is not discouraging fans from attending the tournament, but is concerned about their safety. He says the British embassy official in charge of fan safety was one of 23 diplomats expelled by Russia in a tit-for-tat feud over the poisoning.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide