February 16, 2019 / 1:10 PM / 2 months ago

Russia's Lavrov dubs UK's Williamson 'minister of war'

FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

MUNICH (Reuters) - A day after British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson accused Moscow of “trying to goad the West” in a bellicose speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called him Britain’s minister of war.

Williamson, addressing the Munich Security Conference on Friday, accused Russia of “illegal activity” on land and at sea, and called on Moscow to reset its relationship with Western countries through dialogue.

Lavrov addressed the meeting on Saturday and seized the opportunity to jibe back at Williamson when asked about the security situation of the Arctic.

“We want to understand what kind of mandate NATO is going to have in the Arctic,” he said.

“If you listen to some people like the minister of war - oh, sorry the minister of defense - of the United Kingdom then you might get an impression that nobody except NATO have the right to be anywhere,” he added to laughter.

It was not the first time Lavrov and Williamson have clashed verbally.

Last year, after Williamson told Russia to “go away and shut up”, Lavrov retorted: “Maybe he lacks education.”

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Mark Potter

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