During a rare Russia visit
Boris Johnson publicly clashed with Russia’s foreign minister today over Crimea and Moscow’s alleged cyber attacks on the West.
The foreign secretary also insisted there was “abundant evidence” that Russia had attempted to influence polls in the US, Germany, Denmark and France.
Boris’s Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, however, denied claims that Moscow had used the internet to interfere in democratic elections and accused him of being a “hostage” of false Western narratives.
Boris is the first UK foreign secretary to visit Russia in five years.
After talks between the pair finished, they appeared to exchange barbs in a news conference.
At one point, Lavrov told reporters Boris had told him that Russia did not interfere in the EU referendum. “Not successfully,” Boris shot back.
“See, he has to say this so that he is not criticised back home, for his reputation,” Lavrov responded.
To this Boris said: “It’s your reputation I’m worried about, Sergei.”
The pair also clashed over Russia’s alleged attempts to interfere in elections in the West, following Theresa May’s warnings about the risks of Russia’s “sustained campaign of cyber-espionage and disruption”.