Russia's foreign minister tells Boris Johnson "relations are at a low point" amid diplomatic spat

Lucy White
Awkward: Johnson and Lavrov's meeting was not the smoothest of diplomatic exchanges (Source: Getty)

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said relations between the UK and Russia are "not on a good footing", as he met with his Kremlin counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow today.

The two politicians appeared to agree on that at least, as Lavrov added the countries' relationship was "at a low point".

The Russian foreign minister accused Johnson of making "insulting" statements before the meeting, and rebuked him for speaking publicly about the issues ahead of the meeting.

Read more: Boris Johnson warns Russia is "up to all sorts of dirty tricks" and could undermine the UK's democratic process

“You prefer to talk about these reasons publicly, whereas we would prefer to talk about our mutual concerns not before a mic and at a tribune but directly,” Mr Lavrov said.

Yet Lavrov conceded he did "trust" Johnson, who said "difficulties" in Russia were "a regrettable state of affairs but it should not preclude co-operation".

Johnson, who is the first UK foreign secretary to visit Russia in five years, said some good things had come from the meeting. Both countries had common ground on the Iranian nuclear deal, North Korea, trade and the war in Syria, but were still divided regarding Ukraine and Russia's cyber "meddling".

Cyber attacking was one issue on the cards for the Moscow meeting: the UK government said before Johnson's departure he will warn Russia to stop its attacks or risk retaliation in kind.

Read more: Theresa May vows to combat Russian meddling and aggression

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