Nobody has the right to insult the Russian people who defeated nazism,’ ambassador says
Russia’s ambassador to the UK has denounced Boris Johnson’s remarks in which he compared the upcoming world cup in Russia to the Nazi Olympics as “unacceptable and totally irresponsible”.
Speaking at a press conference Alexander Yakovenko has blamed the British government for failing to cooperate with Moscow in regards to the poising of a Russian spies Sergei and Yulia Skripal on British soil. “We have seen no evidence,” he said.
Yakovenko repeated Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia had “nothing to do with this incident”. He directed attention to the supposed stores of lethal novichok stores the British government has. (Novichok was developed in 1970s and 1980s in secret Soviet Union state laboratories.)
The Foreign Secretary predicted on Thursday that Putin would revel in hosting the world cup the same way Hitler did with the summer Olympics Games in 1936. He also suggested that British football fans may be warned to avoid the game sue to a fear of their safety.
Yakovenko offered his own riposte. “Nobody has the right to insult the Russian people who defeated nazism and lost more than 25m people by comparing our country to Nazi Germany,” he said.
The ambassador also downplayed allegations that the World Cup in Russia could be boycotted saying that the “world community” had picked Russia as the host. Yakovenko accused the British media of waging an “absolutely hysterical campaign” against Russia.
Johnson stated his views at an all-party foreign affairs select committee, in response to Labour MP Ian Austin, who called for the UK to boycott the event all together. “Putin is going to use it in the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics,” Austin said Johnson replied: “I think that your characterisation of what is going to happen in Moscow, the World Cup, in all the venues – yes, I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. It is an emetic prospect of Putin glorying in this sporting event.”
Yakovenko’s comments show that the relations between No.9 and the Kremlin will continue to be exacerbated, with the Kremlin not willing to change their position.