Russian Defence Ministry calls UK Defence Secretary a 'vulgar old harpy' after he tells Russia to 'shut up'

Jack Taylor/Getty ImagesDefence Secretary Gavin Williamson leaves Downing Street on December 13, 2017 in London, England.
  • Russia’s Defence Ministry has called UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson a “vulgar old harpy.”
  • It comes after Williamson said Russia should “shut up” and “go away.”
  • The poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England has caused UK-Russian relations to plummet.

The serious diplomatic spat between Russia and the United Kingdom is devolving into childish name-calling.

Russia’s Defence Ministry called UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson a “vulgar old harpy” on Thursday, after he said the country should “shut up” and “go away.”

“The extreme level of the intellectual impotence of the head of the British Ministry of Defence Gavin Williamson was clearly demonstrated today by his rhetoric – of a vulgar old harpy,”the ministry said in a statement, according to a translation provided by the BBC’s Hannah Bayman.

Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom have dropped to perhaps their lowest since the end of the Cold War, after the UK – backed by allies including the US, Germany, and France – accused Russia of being behind the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.

Russia has angrily denied the allegations and ridiculed Britain in increasingly colourful language.

Earlier on Thursday, Williamson appeared to go off-script, departing from typically measured diplomatic language to say: “Frankly, Russia should go away, it should shut up.”

Russia has responded in kind, insulting the British politician’s intellect and claiming Britain is a hub of “fake scandals.”

Alongside the juvenile insults, more serious diplomatic measures are also being taken. Prime Minister Theresa May has expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the UK, and Russia has vowed retaliation.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia both remain critically ill in hospital. A police officer who came into contact with the nerve agent, Nick Bailey, has also been hospitalised.

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