MOSCOW — The Kremlin has denounced British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statement comparing the World Cup in Russia to the Olympics hosted by Nazi Germany as “utterly disgusting.”

The tough response marks an escalating war of words between Moscow and London over the poisoning in southwestern England of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent. Britain blamed the attack on Russia, which fiercely denied the accusations.

Johnson agreed Wednesday with a Labour lawmaker who likened the soccer World Cup hosted by Russia this summer to Adolf Hitler’s use of the 1936 Olympics as propaganda for his regime.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov described it Thursday as “the utterly disgusting statement which is unworthy of a foreign minister of any country.” He called Johnson’s words “insulting and unacceptable.”