Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused the Israeli government of supporting a “neo-Nazi regime” in Ukraine.
In a text published online Tuesday, officials accused Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid of making “anti-historical statements” which “explained the course of the current Israeli government in supporting the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”
The statement comes after Lapid criticized his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, Monday for telling Italian journalists that "the most ardent anti-Semites, as a rule, are Jews."
Lavrov had been defending Moscow’s claims that Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 to defend the country from “fascists” which had taken over the country’s government, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Jewish heritage.
The diplomat’s remarks sparked outrage in Israel, which has officially remained largely neutral since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
"Foreign Minister Lavrov's remarks are both an unforgivable and outrageous statement as well as a terrible historical error," Lapid said Monday. He also said that the Israeli Foreign Ministry had summoned the Russian ambassador to “clarify” the comments.
"Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust. The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of antisemitism."
But Russia’s Foreign Ministry doubled down on their claims.
“History, unfortunately, knows tragic examples of cooperation between Jews and the Nazis," they said in Tuesday’s statement.
“The historical tragedy lies in the fact that if during the Second World War some Jews were forced to participate in [Nazi war] crimes, then [President] Zelensky, who speculates on his roots, does this quite consciously and quite voluntarily. He hides behind his origins and uses them to provide cover for neo-Nazis, the spiritual and blood heirs of the executioners of his people.”