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Boris Johnson has predicted Vladimir Putin will revel in the World Cup in Russia this summer in the same way that Adolf Hitler did in the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, and suggested the UK may advise English football fans to avoid travelling to the tournament for their own safety.
Johnson revealed that the British diplomat responsible for liaising with UK fans had been thrown out as part of the diplomatic expulsions in the wake of the poisoning of a Russian former spy, Sergei Skripal.
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Russia has also said it is closing the British consulate in St Petersburg, restricting the ability of the UK embassy to help visitors in the event of violence.
Johnson said he would be seeking urgent assurances from Russia that it would fulfil its obligations under the World Cup contract to ensure the safety of fans. “I think it is up to the Russians to give us an undertaking that they will be safe,” he said.
Both Russia and England have a history of violent football fans [hooligans a British term], and the risk of fierce fighting between the two sets of fans appears to be higher given the political tensions.