Russian FM taunts UK counterpart with UK players’ 1938 Nazi salute
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Russian FM taunts UK counterpart with UK players’ 1938 Nazi salute

In ongoing row over poison attack on Russian spy, Lavrov hits back at Britain’s Boris Johnson, who compared Russia soccer World Cup to Hitler’s Olympics

Before a record crowd of more than 100,000 people who filled Berlin's Olympic stadium. the English football team gave the Nazi salute in this May 14th, 1938, file photo. England beat Germany 6-3. (AP PHOTO).
Before a record crowd of more than 100,000 people who filled Berlin's Olympic stadium. the English football team gave the Nazi salute in this May 14th, 1938, file photo. England beat Germany 6-3. (AP PHOTO).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hit back at UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for comparing Russia’s hosting of the World Cup this summer to Hitler’s Olympics.

Lavrov sent his British counterpart a copy of an infamous photograph showing England’s soccer team performing the Nazi salute in Germany in 1938, the UK’s Daily Mirror newspaper reported Sunday.

Use of the black and white photograph was the latest salvo in a tit-for-tat battle between London and Moscow over responsibility for the nerve agent poisoning in England of a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, who was visiting him from Moscow, on March 4.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a press conference on March 29, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV)

The soccer players had been ordered to perform the Nazi salute by German officials, supported by the British ambassador of the time under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who was trying to appease Hitler.

According to the son of the late soccer legend, Sir Stanley Matthews, who appears in the photograph as a young man, the Football Association ordered the players to salute if they wanted to continue playing for England.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives at Downing Street in London for the weekly cabinet meeting on March 20, 2018. (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)

The son, also called Stanley, said it seemed the Russians were “grabbing at straws” if they had to resort to this photograph.

“My father was not very political, so I’m sure that he wouldn’t like the idea that he was appeasing the Germans,” he added.

The salute at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium took place two months after Hitler’s annexation of Austria.

Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court in Moscow on August 9, 2006. (AFP PHOTO / Kommersant Photo / Yuri SENATOROV)

 

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