PARIS, France – Russia’s foreign ministry accused Israel on Tuesday of supporting neo – Nazis in Ukraine, escalating a raw that began when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins.
Israel said on Monday Lavrov’s comment was an ‘unforgivable’ falsehood that tried to minimise the horrors of the Holocaust – the slaughter of 6 million European Jews and other minority groups by Nazi Germany.
Leaders from several Western nations denounced Lavrov, who had asked how Russia could be pursuing its stated goal of ‘denazifying’ Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelenskiy himself is a Jew. Zelenskiy, whose country is a parliamentary democracy, accused Russia of having forgotten the lessons of World War Two.
Moscow reiterated Lavrov’s pointed that Zelenekiy’s Jewish origine did not preclude Ukraine being run by neo – Nazis.
‘Antisemitism in everyday life and in politics is not stopped and is on the contrary nurtured (in Ukraine)’, it said in a statement.
Israel has expressed support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February. But wary of damaging relations with Russia, a powerbroker in neighbouring Syria, it initially avoided direct criticism of Moscow and has not enforced formal sanctions on Russia oligarch.
However, ties have grown more strained, with Lapid last month accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine.