After outrage at Lavrov: According to Israel, Putin apologizes for Hitler comparison

After outrage at Lavrov
According to Israel, Putin apologizes for Hitler comparison

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov caused outrage in Israel with his claim that Hitler too had “Jewish blood.” In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Bennett, the head of the Kremlin apparently apologized to Putin for his minister’s statements.

After a dispute over statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that were criticized as anti-Semitic, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin apologized, according to Israeli sources. This was announced by the office of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after a phone call with Putin. Bennett accepted the apology and “thank you for clarifying the President’s attitude toward the Jewish people and Holocaust remembrance.”

The Kremlin initially gave no confirmation of such an apology. From Moscow it was only said that the Russian President had emphasized his country’s friendly relations with Israel in the telephone call. The topic of the phone call was also the fighting in Ukraine. An apology from Putin is considered very unusual.

Lavrov had caused outrage in Israel and other countries in an interview on Italian television about the war in Ukraine, which aired on Sunday. Moscow justifies the attack on the neighboring country with an allegedly necessary “denazification”, although the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is of Jewish descent. Lavrov said that Hitler also had “Jewish blood”. “That means nothing at all. The wise Jewish people say that the most fervent anti-Semites are usually Jews.”

Israel’s Foreign Minister Jair Lapid then demanded an apology. Lavrov is promoting “a reversal of the Holocaust – by turning the victims into the criminals, by spreading a completely unfounded claim that Hitler was of Jewish descent”. In addition, the Israeli government invited the Russian ambassador to an interview.

Despite the international outrage over Lavrov’s comparison with Hitler, Moscow upped the ante on Wednesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Israel of supporting “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

Exchange on “historical memory”

During their conversation, Putin and Bennett also exchanged views on the historical commemoration of the Second World War. It was about the meaning of May 9th as the day of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany and about “all the victims” of the Second World War, including “the Holocaust victims,” ​​the Kremlin said.

Putin and Bennett continued their “extensive exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said. Another topic was “historical memory”. Among other things, Putin emphasized that “40 percent” of the Jews murdered during the Holocaust were “citizens of the USSR.” For his part, Bennett pointed out the “decisive contribution of the Red Army to the victory over Nazism”.

On May 9, Russia traditionally celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany with a military parade and a speech by Kremlin chief Putin on Red Square in Moscow. This year, the celebrations against the background of the Russian military operation in Ukraine are of particular importance.

The statement from Bennett’s office also said that the prime minister had submitted a request to examine various options for evacuating civilians from the Azovstal Steel Plant in the port city of Mariupol. “The request came after his conversation with Zelenskyj yesterday,” it said. Putin has promised to facilitate an evacuation using a United Nations humanitarian corridor and the International Red Cross. This also applies to injured civilians.

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