May 16, 2022

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Russia says Israel supports neo-Nazis feuding over Ukraine

Russia says Israel supports neo-Nazis feuding over Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a press conference after meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2022. Maxim Schebenkov/Paul via Reuters/File photo

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(Reuters) – The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Israel on Tuesday of supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, further escalating a row that began when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins.

Israel slammed Lavrov on Monday, saying his claim — made while speaking about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish — was an “unforgivable” falsehood that obliterated the horrors of the Holocaust. Read more

Leaders of several Western countries condemned Lavrov’s comments, and Zelensky accused Russia of forgetting the lessons of World War II.

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In a statement, the Russian ministry said Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s statements were “hostile to history” and “to a large extent explain why the current Israeli government supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

Moscow reiterated Lavrov’s view that Zelensky’s Jewish origins did not prevent Ukraine from running the neo-Nazis.

“Anti-Semitism does not stop in everyday life and in politics, on the contrary, it thrives (in Ukraine),” she said in a statement.

Lavrov made Hitler’s affirmation on Italian television on Sunday when asked why Russia said it needed to “discredit” Ukraine if the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was himself a Jew.

Israel expressed its support for Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion in February. But fearing damage to relations with Russia, which has influence in neighboring Syria, at first she avoided direct criticism of Moscow and did not impose official sanctions on the Russian oligarchy.

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But relations have grown strained, with Lapid last month accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

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Reporting by Reuters. Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Raisa Kasulowski

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.