British Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has ramped the pressure ahead of the 2018 World Cup by claiming Russia president Vladimir Putin will use the event like Adolf Hitler used the 1936 Olympic Games.
This comes amid deteriorating relations between the two countries after former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent near his home in Salisbury.
The attack has incensed UK officials, leading to accusations and counter-accusations as both nations expelled diplomats.
In parliament Wednesday, Johnson suggested that Putin, re-elected to a fifth term in office at the weekend, would toe the line of the late German dictator.
“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,” the politician said in response to a question from Labour MP Ian Austin, who asserted that “Putin is going to use [the World Cup] in the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics.”
“I think it’s an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event.”
Austin reiterated calls for England, the sole member of the four nations that represent the United Kingdom, to boycott the Mundial in protest at the alleged chemical attack.
“I frankly do not think England should be participating in the World Cup. I don’t think we should be supporting Putin using this as a PR exercise to gloss over the gross human rights abuses for which he’s responsible,” he said.
Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition after the March 4 attack that recalls the death in London of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 from acute radiation poisoning.