Countries weigh diplomatic snub of Russia's World Cup

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British Foreign Minister on Wednesday compared newly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, saying that Russia hosting the World Cup is akin Germany hosting the Olympic Games during the Third Reich.

Giving evidence to the Commons foreign affairs committee, Mr Johnson said that whilst it would be wrong to "punish" English footballers by boycotting the tournament, the prospect of fans travelling to Russian Federation was not certain.

Mr Johnson was challenged by Labour MP Ian Austin if he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin meant to use the event "in the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics" as a propaganda exercise to "gloss over" Russia's "gross human rights abuses".

"We have destroyed all chemical weapons", he added, rejecting Britain's claim that only Moscow could be behind the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.The poisoning in the English city of Salisbury on March 4 has led to a diplomatic crisis, with Britain expelling 23 Kremlin diplomats.

"It is Britain that has been most forthright and most obstinate in sticking up for our values and I think that is the reason it was decided to make that gesture in this country".

It also says that any association which pulls out "no later than 30 days before the start" of the tournament would liable for a fine of at least 250,000 Swiss francs (£190,513), a penalty that would double if a withdrawal occurred less than 30 days before Russian Federation 2018 kicks off.

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"It is an emetic prospect to think of Putin glorifying in this sporting event".

The Russian foreign ministry had invited foreign ambassadors in Moscow to brief them about the allegations, but the British and the USA missions shunned the meeting and sent lower-level diplomats instead.

"When you have a nerve agent, you check it against certain samples you have in your laboratories", he said."And Porton Down, as we now all know, is the largest military facility in the United Kingdom that has been dealing with chemical weapons research - and it's actually only eight miles from Salisbury".

Construction work at the Samara Arena, one of 12 venues that will stage World Cup matches this year, has been hit by a number of setbacks in recent months, putting authorities under additional pressure to deliver a proper venue for the tournament. Russian Federation denies involvement in the March 4 attack in the English city of Salisbury.

"This took place on the territory of Great Britain", he said.

"You can expect to be assassinated. It is because this is a country that does have that particular set of values, that does believe in freedom and democracy and the rule of law and has time and again called out Russian Federation over its abuses of these values".

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