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‘Who the **** are you to lecture me?’: The tongue-lashing suffered by David Miliband from Russian counterpart

Friday, September 12, 2008

David Miliband has allegedly come in for a rather undiplomatic tongue-lashing from his Russian counterpart.

The Foreign Secretary was apparently given a furious dressing down by Sergei Lavrov over the telephone.

Mr Miliband’s criticism of Russia’s recent incursion into Georgia is believed to have sparked the colourful tirade.

One unconfirmed report suggested that Mr Lavrov said: ‘Who are you to f*** lecture me?’

A Whitehall insider told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It was effing this and effing that. It was not what you would call diplomatic language. It was rather shocking.’


The incident came as an equally belligerent Vladimir Putin told media that Russia had to invade Georgia: ‘What did you expect us to do? Respond with a catapult? We punched the aggressor in the face.’

Mr Miliband had allegedly been putting forward Britain and Europe’s objections to Russia’s incursion into the breakaway region of South Ossetia last month.

It is also understood that Mr Lavrov grilled Mr Miliband on Britain and America’s invasion of Iraq as part of his response to the Foreign Secretary’s criticism.

Sources at the Foreign Office confirmed to the Telegraph that there was swearing ‘but only from one side’. The tense conversation was said to have taken place recently.

Spokesmen said they could not discuss conversations between foreign ministers.