Michael Lea, Will Stewart – Daily Mail September 13, 2008
David Miliband was subjected to an astonishing four-letter tirade from his Russian counterpart at the height of the Georgia crisis.
The Foreign Secretary received the undiplomatic tongue-lashing over the telephone after expressing the EU's anger with the Kremlin, it was revealed yesterday.
At one point Sergei Lavrov, the colourful Russian foreign minister, became so incensed that he reportedly barked: 'Who the f*** are you to lecture me?'
Mr Lavrov, who is seen as the fearsome face of Russia's new aggressive foreign policy, objected to what he believed was Mr Miliband's condescending tone.
He used full-strength industrial language to suggest to the Foreign Secretary that he knew little, if anything, of Russia's history - perhaps unaware that Mr Miliband's grandfather Samuel served in the Red Army and his father Ralph was a leading Marxist theoretician.
Such was the repeated use of the F-word that it was difficult to draft a readable note of the exchange, according to one insider who has seen the transcript.
A Whitehall source said: 'It was effing this and effing that.
'It was not what you would call diplomatic language. It was rather shocking.'
Mr Miliband was 'surprised' by the ferocity of the verbal attack and the nature of the language, an insider close to the Foreign Secretary added.
It came as he put forward objections to the Russian invasion of Georgia following a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Brussels last month.
Sources at the Foreign Office said the exchange came before Mr Miliband's controversial visit to Russia's neighbour Ukraine, where he flew the flag for Western democracy - otherwise the onslaught might have been even more severe
Last updated 15/09/2008