Russian Foreign Minister’s Anti-Semitic Speech Sparks Widespread Outrage

During an interview on May 1st, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took Adolf Hitler as an example to justify his assertion that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine aimed to denaztify the country, claiming there are neo-Nazis in Kyiv including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish himself. Lavrov explained that although his speculation might be wrong, he thought Hitler also had Jewish origins.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh in MoscowAfter Lavrov made such statements that Hitler had Jewish roots, he was strongly condemned by leaders from the U.S., Germany, Italy, Canada as well as Israel, who had previously been taking cautious positions on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid denounced Lavrov’s extremist statement, summoned the Russian ambassador and demanded an explanation. Lapid considered it as an unforgivable and despicable comment as well as a terrible error. He demanded Lavrov’s apology and said the act of using the Holocaust and the Jewish people for political purposes must stop immediately. However, Russia appeared to not take the Israeli response seriously. Not only did Moscow make no apology, but they also took the offensive. The Russian foreign ministry said Lapid’s comments were anti-historical and accused the Israeli government of supporting the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.

Since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, Israel has been avoiding the enforcement of sanctions on Russian oligarchs together with its western allies. However, as the war progressed, its attitude became unambiguous, with Lapid last month publicly accusing Russia of perpetrating war crimes in Ukraine.

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