Russia on Thursday summoned Britain's ambassador to Moscow to protest at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "offensive" remarks about President Vladimir Putin, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Russia told the envoy, Deborah Bronnert, it "firmly" opposed "the openly offensive comments by the British authorities towards Russia, its leader, its officials as well as the Russian people," the statement said.
"In polite society, it is customary to apologise for remarks of this kind," it added, as it slammed the "unacceptable insulting rhetoric". Johnson said on Tuesday that Putin would not have started the war in Ukraine if he was a woman and said the military operation was "a perfect example of toxic masculinity". "If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn't, but if he were, I really don't think he would've embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has," Johnson told German broadcaster ZDF. Putin dismissed Johnson's comments as "incorrect". British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also provoked Russia's ire after he accused the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman of "every week, threatening to nuke everyone or doing something or another". The Russian foreign ministry underlined it was "unacceptable" for British officials "to share deliberately false information, especially on alleged threats by Russians 'resorting to nuclear arms'".