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Boris Johnson likens Russian Federation hosting World Cup to Hitler's 1936 Olympics

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Christian Purslow suggested a boycott would hurt Russian President Vladimir Putin's popularity

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says it is sickening to think of President Vladimir Putin glorifying in Russian Federation hosting the World Cup and agreed there are comparisons with Adolf Hitler's use of the 1936 Olympics as a propaganda vehicle for his regime.

Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary.

Russian Federation is hosting the World Cup this Summer and opposition Member of Parliament Ian Austin said Putin would use the tournament to improve Russia's image, comparing it to when Hitler's Germany hosted Olympics.

Responding to concerns about fan safety following the expulsion of British diplomats in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack, Mr Johnson said it was up to the "Russians to guarantee the safety of England fans".

The UK government has cancelled plans to send officials and members of the royal family to the tournament, which takes place in Russian Federation later this year, following the poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury England earlier this month.

He said only around 24,000 fans had applied to travel to Russian Federation compared to 94,000 who had expressed interest in going to Brazil.

Meanwhile the United States joined Germany and France in voicing support for Britain's position and blaming Russian Federation for the attack which was carried out with a secret nerve agent designed specifically for assassinations.

March 23 will see an exhibition match between the Russian and Brazilian national football teams, a game that comes ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia this summer.

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Russian Federation has accused Britain of deliberate concealing evidence in the escalating war of words over the incident.

"That is what I think it was an attempt to excite amongst the Russian electorate".

"To be honest, I don't know much about Russia's culture", he added.

"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".

"I'm afraid that's completely right, completely right", Johnson replied.

Yermakov accused Britain of "hiding facts" and warned that key evidence might "disappear". I grew up genuinely worrying that our country was going to be evaporated in a thermonuclear strike.

A senior Russian diplomat says Moscow wants to take part in an investigation into the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain, saying Russia's involvement is essential to finding the truth.

He was concerned however about the safety of English fans and the ability of the British embassy and consular services to protect them.

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