War in Ukraine: Putin apologizes to Israel for Lavrov’s anti-Semitic remarks | International

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting this Thursday in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting this Thursday in Moscow.SPUTNIK (via REUTERS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized on Thursday to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the recent statement released by the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov, in which he stated that Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins like the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to has informed the agent’s office. Israel condemned Lavrov’s comments as anti-Semitic and summoned the Russian ambassador to the country, Anatoli Viktorov, to ask for explanations, in the worst clash between Israel and Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine.

“Both [dirigentes] they discussed the statements of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. The first Minister [Bennett] accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s remarks, and thanked him for clarifying his attitude towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust,” Bennett’s office said in a statement.

The Kremlin, however, did not mention in its statement about the Bennett-Putin conversation that the Russian president had apologized for Lavrov’s comments, suggesting that the call came on the occasion of Israel’s Independence Day, celebrated between this Wednesday and Thursday. In this sense, the Kremlin limited itself to declaring that both leaders highlighted the need to preserve “the historical truth” of the Second World War, “including the victims of the Holocaust.”

Lavrov made the comments that sparked the controversy on Sunday night during an interview with the Italian television channel Rete 4. When the interviewer recalled Zelensky’s Jewish roots to refute the Kremlin’s propaganda about the alleged need to denazify Ukraine as a pretext to justify the invasion of the country, the Russian minister replied: “Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means absolutely nothing.” “We have long heard Jewish scholars say that the greatest anti-Semites are precisely the Jews,” he added.

Lavrov’s remarks infuriated Israel, and Bennett then declared that “the goal of such lies is to accuse the Jews themselves of the most horrible crimes in history, which were perpetrated against them.” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the Russian diplomat’s statement “inexcusable, outrageous and a terrible historical mistake,” and his office reported that he had summoned Viktorov, the Russian ambassador to Israel, to express his anger at the remarks. and ask for explanations.

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Far from backing down, the Russian Foreign Ministry doubled down on Lavrov’s remarks on Tuesday, claiming that Israel supports the “neo-Nazi regime” in kyiv, and accused Lapid of making “antihistorical” remarks. In its statement, the Russian ministry even cited examples of cooperation between Jews and Nazis during the Holocaust in an attempt to substantiate Lavrov’s claims, and accused Zelensky of hiding behind his origins.

Bennett and Putin also addressed the situation in Ukraine on Thursday in their call, in particular at the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol, and the Israeli prime minister’s office said the Russian president promised to allow the evacuation of civilians and wounded from the site through a UN humanitarian corridor and the Red Cross.

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