Steerpike

Watch: Truss and Lavrov clash in Russia

Watch: Truss and Lavrov clash in Russia
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Liz Truss is out on Russia, meeting the Kremlin's finest in between various photoshoots. But while the Foreign Secretary might enjoy cosplaying as Mrs T in her finest furs, her appearance this afternoon with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov was more Theresa May than Iron Lady. In an awkward encounter Lavrov told a joint press conference that UK diplomats came 'unprepared' to Moscow and that talks with Truss were like 'speaking to a deaf person who listens but cannot hear.'

Naturally, such comments were seized upon by some of the more Brexit-deranged critics here in Britain, as proof of Truss's failings. Lionel Barber, the former editor of the Financial Times, virtually salivated over the exchange, gushing on Twitter about how 'Lavrov – Putin’s Gromyko – eats Liz Truss alive on camera, dismissing her as an ignorant lightweight who spends too much time on social media. Easy to have anticipated this payback !' Always worth taking what apparatchiks of the journalist-murdering, Brit-poisoning Kremlin say with a pinch of salt, eh Lionel?

For her part, Truss stayed calm and walked off after the snub, having used her meeting to re-emphasise the British government's warnings about the build up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. It's the first meeting between UK-Russian representatives since March 2018 when Sergei Skripal was poisoned in Salisbury. And judging from this very undiplomatic exchange, it might well be the last for a while...

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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Topics in this articlePoliticsliz trusssergei lavrov