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The Foreign Secretary added: "I think it is an emetic prospect frankly to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event".

"It would be incredibly unfair to punish (fans) or the team who have worked on this for an incredibly long time", Johnson said, who also said he needs to have an "urgent conversation" with Russian Federation about how British fans in attendance will be protected.

Johnson, however, rejected Austin's suggestion that England boycott the World Cup and withdraw their team from the tournament.

British Prime Minister Theresa May earlier announced that none of the British cabinet or the royal family would attend the World Cup following the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK on March 4.

"At the moment, we are not inclined actively to dissuade people from going because we want to hear from the Russians what steps they are going to take to look after our fans", he said.

"My challenge to the Russian authorities is to show that the 24,000 United Kingdom applicants for tickets to the football World Cup are going to be well treated, are going to be safe".

He suggested Scottish residents who applied for visas to travel to Russia would not be affected by the UK's decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats as much as those in England, adding: "Not for residents of Scotland because we are providing all consular support".

"The idea of Putin handing over the World Cup to the captain of the winning team; the idea of Putin using this as a PR exercise to gloss over the brutal, corrupt regime for which he is responsible; it fills me with horror", British lawmaker Ian Austin said.

Vladimir Putin
GETTY VLADIMIR PUTIN Russia hit back at Boris Johnson's comments as'unacceptable

Johnson insisted Britain was doing all it could to ensure the safety of England fans and had been coordinating with the Russian police in recent months.

He said: "You can't imagine anything more counter-productive to the UK's ability to help fans in Russian Federation, so there is an issue - there is a discussion".

He said that "maybe it is time for him to go".

"By now, no facts have been officially presented either to the OPCW (organisation for the prevention of chemical weapons), or to us, or to UK's partners, or to the public".

"I think the reason that they picked the United Kingdom is very simple: it's because this is a country that does have that particular set of values, it does believe in freedom, and in democracy and in the rule of law, and has time and again called out Russian Federation over its abuses of those values".

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

Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman responded that Mr Johnson was poisoned with hatred and anger, and that she found it frightening he represents a nuclear power.





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