Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday accused Israel of supporting “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv,” deepening a controversy he sparked two days earlier by claiming that Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood.”

Asked by Italian media on Sunday how a Nazi regime such as Russia claims exists in Ukraine could be headed by a Jewish president such as Volodymyr Zelensky, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded, “So what if Zelensky is Jewish? Hitler had Jewish blood.” Lavrov went on to state that “the greatest anti-Semites were Jews.”

His remarks caused an uproar in Israel, with both Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issuing harsh condemnations. Russian Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov was also summoned to Jerusalem.

“This angers me not just as foreign minister, but also as the son of a father who was in the Budapest ghetto,” said Lapid on Monday. “Jews didn’t put him in the ghetto. Nazis put him there. The Nazis persecuted the Jews and killed six million Jews. The Ukrainians are not Nazis. Only Nazis were Nazis. Only they dealt with systematic destruction of the Jewish people.”

In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Lapid’s remarks were “anti-historical” and explained “to a large extent why the current Israeli government supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv,” Reuters reported.

The statement reiterated that Zelensky’s Jewish roots did not preclude Ukraine from being run by neo-Nazis.

“Anti-Semitism in everyday life and in politics is not stopped and is, on the contrary, nurtured [in Ukraine],” the statement said, according to the report.

Leaders from several Western nations have denounced Lavrov’s comments, and Zelensky has accused Russia of having forgotten the lessons of World War II, according to Reuters.


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