Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi was summoned on Sunday to appear at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

News of the summons arrived after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and a number of other Israeli officials issued sharp condemnations of Russia’s Ukraine invasion.

Israeli officials still believe the situation is “under control” and don’t expect diplomatic relations between the countries to deteriorate.

During his official visit to Greece earlier in the month, Lapid charged that Russia had committed “war crimes against a defenseless civilian population.”

“A large and powerful country has invaded a smaller neighbor without any justification,” said Lapid, adding, “Once again, the ground is soaked with the blood of innocent civilians.”

In his remarks, the foreign minister also condemned the killings in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha—where the withdrawal of Russian troops revealed mass graves and a number of bodies lying in the streets, dressed in civilian clothing.

“The images and testimony from Ukraine are horrific,” said Lapid.

Moscow said on Friday that it had “taken note” of Lapid’s comments, which officials referred to as an “anti-Russian attack” in a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“There is an attempt to exploit the situation in Ukraine to distract the attention of the international community from one of the longest unsolved conflicts—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the Russian message read.

The ministry also condemned Israel’s decision to vote in favor of Russia’s expulsion from the United Nations Human Rights Council.


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