Russia has hit back at the United Kingdom for not being invited to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London next week.
Hundreds of foreign royals and leaders are expected in Westminster Abbey on Monday for one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings in decades and Britain’s first state funeral for six decades.
Russia, whose troops invaded neighboring Ukraine nearly seven months ago, and its key ally Belarus are among a handful of nations excluded from the funeral.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned London for what it called a “deeply immoral” use of a national tragedy for geopolitical goals amid the lowest point in Russian-British relations since the Cold War.
In a statement published on its website Thursday, the Foreign Ministry accused Britain of “making divisive statements in furtherance of its opportunistic aims.”
The ministry invoked the memory of World War II, praising Queen Elizabeth II of serving in the British Army while accusing the “British elites” of siding with what Moscow refers to as Ukrainian “Nazis.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had lavished praise on Queen Elizabeth II upon news of her death on Sept. 8, said he would not attend the monarch’s funeral.
Britain has joined its Western allies in imposing a travel ban on Putin and his top officials in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
AFP contributed reporting.