Moscow’s ambassador to the U.K. slammed the British Foreign Secretary’s comparison of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolph Hitler as “disgusting” in an escalating war of words between the two countries.
On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was “emetic,” vomit-inducing, that Putin is rejoicing over hosting the World Cup soccer tournament this summer.
Johnson also said Russia's hosting of the June 14-July 15 World Cup tournament could be compared to the 1936 Olympics, which was used as propaganda exercise by Nazi Germany. In the run-up to the 1936 Games, there was a rigorous debate over whether to boycott the event.
Alexander Yakovenko, the ambassador, said “nobody has the right to insult the Russian people, who defeated Nazism.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said Johnson was “poisoned with venom of malice and hate,” reports the Boston Globe.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the comparison an “utterly disgusting statement which is unworthy of a foreign minister of any country” at a press conference, the Sun reports.
The recent escalating tension between Russia and the United Kingdom has its origins in the attack on Sergei Skirpal and his daughter Yulia on British soil with a nerve agent—likely of Russian origin—on March 4.
May has accused Russia of staging “a brazen and reckless attack against the United Kingdom” by attacking the Skripals in the English city of Salisbury.
“Moscow considers this kind of statement made under the level of foreign secretary ... unacceptable and totally irresponsible.”
Yakovenko also said, “Moscow considers this kind of statement made under the level of foreign secretary ... unacceptable and totally irresponsible.”
Moscow also told the British Council in the country, which promotes British culture overseas, to shut down. The poisoning and the ongoing war of words has also raised questions about this summer's World Cup.
Johnson told MPs that he was "deeply concerned" at the treatment travelling England fans would likely receive in Russia, Sky News reports.
However, Yakovenko said English fans would be safe and would enjoy visa-free travel as guests of the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.