- UK Foreign Secretary compares Putin’s Russia to Nazi Germany.
- He says he is concerned about the safety of England fans attending the World Cup
- However, he insists it would be unfair on the England football team to cancel their attendance.
LONDON – Vladimir Putin hosting the World Cup is like Adolf Hitler hosting the Olympics in 1936, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson suggested on Wednesday.
Asked by Labour MP Ian Austin at Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee whether Russia’s hosting of the games was comparable to Nazi Germany’s hosting of the Olympic games, Johnson replied that the comparison was “certainly right.
“I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. It is an emetic prospect to think of Putin glorifying in this sporting event,” he told Austin.
The UK government has cancelled plans to send officials and members of the royal family to the tournament, which takes place in Russia later this year, following the poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury England earlier this month.
The prime minister Theresa May has said it is “highly likely” that Russia is to blame for the attack and has expelled 23 Russian diplomats form Britain, accused of being spies.
However, the foreign secretary said that despite the government’s concerns, it would be wrong to cancel the England team’s appearance at the tournament, saying that it would not be “fair” on the players.
He also did not suggest that England fans should boycott the event. However, he said the government were urgently looking at the safety of fans and urged all those planning to attend to regularly check the Foreign Office website for the latest travel advice on Russia.
Asked about Johnson’s comments, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said that the Foreign Secretary was “poisoned with hatred and anger.”