Boris Johnson's World Cup Hitler jibe an 'insult to Russian people' says envoy

BRITAIN-RUSSIA/

Russia's ambassador to London has condemned as "totally irresponsible" Boris Johnson's comparison of Russia hosting the World Cup to Hitler's 1936 Olympics .

Speaking at a press conference at the embassy, Alexander Yakovenko said: "I am authorised to say that Moscow considers this kind of statement made under the level of foreign secretary ... unacceptable and totally irresponsible.

"The British Government is free to take 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.

"That goes beyond common sense and we do not think British war veterans, including those of the Arctic convoys, would share this opinion."

Mr Johnson made his comments while giving evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

He said: "I think the comparison to 1936 is certainly right."

Downing Street said on Thursday Theresa May had "full confidence" in Mr Johnson despite the furore his remarks created.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock suggested that the best response to Russia hosting the tournament would be for England to win it.

Asked if Mrs May agreed, the Downing Street spokesman said: "I think the Prime Minister would, of course, want our team to win the World Cup."

Mr Johnson's comments were branded "utterly disgusting" and "unworthy" of a foreign minister by Russian president Vladimir Putin's spokesman.

There will be no official UK Government representation at the event as a result of the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

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