London, Sept.13 : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov subjected his British counterpart David Miliband to a four-letter abuse tirade when the latter lectured the former about Moscow's decision to invade Georgia.
Lavrov reportedly reacted with fury and repeatedly used the "F-word" when Miliband criticized him about last month's aggression in South and North Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The Telegraph quoted an insider as saying that it was difficult to draft a readable note of the conversation.
One unconfirmed report suggested that Lavrov said: "Who are you to f------ lecture me?"
He even asked Miliband whether he knew anything of Russia's history.
One Whitehall insider said: "It was effing this and effing that. It was not what you would call diplomatic language. It was rather shocking."
The Foreign Secretary had been putting forward Britain and Europe's objections to the actions of Russia, which began when their tanks rolled into the breakaway region of South Ossetia last month.
It is also understood that Miliband was asked about Britain and America's invasion of Iraq, when Russian actions in Georgia were questioned, during the tense conversation that took place recently.
Sources at the Foreign Office confirmed there was swearing "but only from one side".
A spokesman for the Foreign Secretary said: "We do not discuss diplomatic conversations between foreign ministers."
Lavrov has developed a reputation as the fearsome face of Russia's new aggressive foreign policy. When he held the position as Russia's man at the United Nations in New York, he developed a reputation as fierce critic of other nations.
Miliband is unlikely to have experienced anything quite so bruising in his year as Foreign Secretary than being told some home truths by a grizzled veteran of the international scene.
Lavrov has been highly critical of the way the West portrayed Russian moves into Georgia. He has criticised what he described as a "truly David and Goliath interpretation" of the conflict in which "the plucky republic of Georgia, with just a few million citizens, was attacked by its giant eastern neighbour".
This is not the first time that both of clashed. Last year, Lavrov retaliated to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from London by closing British Council offices in Russia.
The Russians were ordered out of the country in the wake of the Russia's refusal to co-operate in the investigation into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned in a London hotel in 2006.