Russia mocked Britain today as “a small island no one listens to”, sparking a diplomatic spat with David Cameron.
Mr Putin has opposed intervention and questioned Western claims about the attack. Britain has faced questions about its role and influence in the world since Mr Cameron was embarrassed by last week’s Commons vote to rule out a military strike against Syria.
Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s official spokesman, is said to have highlighted that embarrassment, telling Russian journalists that Britain was now diplomatically irrelevant.
Britain is “just a small island … no one pays any attention to them”, Mr Peskov is reported to have said. The blunt remarks appeared to realise British fears that the Russians would use the St Petersburg summit to upstage Mr Cameron over his criticism of Syria, Russia’s closest Middle Eastern ally.
The Russian official is also said to have joked about Russian “oligarchs” buying up large parts of Chelsea and other upmarket London districts.
The remarks, which were reported by the BBC, could not be verified, but were apparently accepted as genuine by the Prime Minister in a BBC interview.
In the interview, Mr Cameron angrily rejected the Russian dismissal of British influence. “I don’t accept that for a moment,” he said, insisting that Britain remained a power in world affairs.
Full article: Russia mocks Britain, the little island (The Telegraph)