Israel denounces Lavrov's 'Hitler had Jewish blood' claim and summons Russian ambassador

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid calls comments about Nazi leader 'outrageous'

Sergey Lavrov's comments were dismissed as “unforgivable and outrageous”. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

Israel on Monday summoned the Russian ambassador in Tel Aviv over “outrageous” remarks by Moscow about Jews.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed on Sunday that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who oversaw the killing of six million Jews, had “Jewish blood”.

The comments were dismissed as “unforgivable and outrageous” by his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid.

Mr Lavrov’s remarks were “a terrible historical error,” Mr Lapid said in a statement. “Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust.”

The Israeli foreign ministry said it had summoned the Russian ambassador for a "clarification meeting" over the comments, made in an interview on Italian TV programme Zona Bianca on Sunday.

Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day last week, with sirens blaring out across the country to commemorate the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The comments by Russia’s foreign minister came as he reaffirmed Moscow’s stance that his country’s invasion of Ukraine is aimed at freeing the country from Nazis.

Mr Lavrov said such a position held true, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy being Jewish.

The BBC reported that he told the Italian TV interviewer: "So what if Zelenskyy is Jewish? The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood."

Moscow’s stated motive for the invasion of Ukraine in February has been widely rejected by the international community.

Israel has stopped short of joining its US and European allies in imposing sweeping sanctions on Moscow or sending weapons to Ukrainian forces.

Last month, the Israeli government shifted its position and said it would send helmets and other protective equipment to Ukrainian rescuers.

Updated: May 02, 2022, 11:00 AM