Ukraine's President Zelenskyy discusses Russia's Hitler remarks with Israeli PM

He says he spoke with Naftali Bennett about Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's 'scandalous' comments

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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday said he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett about the "scandalous and completely unacceptable remarks" by Russia's foreign minister about Adolf Hitler.

In an early morning video address, Mr Zelenskyy said the comments by Sergey Lavrov had outraged the entire world.

Mr Lavrov suggested in an interview on Sunday that Hitler had had Jewish origins, after being asked about Russia's claim that one of the goals of its invasion was to "denazify Ukraine". He said Ukraine could still have Nazi elements even if some figures, including the country’s president, were Jewish.

Israel called the comments “unforgivable”, saying they blamed Jews for their own murder in the Holocaust, and summoned the Russian ambassador.

In another Russian allegation likely to fuel tensions with Israel, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Israeli mercenaries were fighting "shoulder to shoulder" with the far-right Azov Regiment in Ukraine.

Azov rose to prominence in 2014, when its far-right activists took up arms to fight pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, but have since fallen under the command of Ukraine's military.

The Donbas region has become the focus of Moscow's campaign after Ukrainian forces, including thousands of civilians who enlisted after the February 24 invasion, repelled Russian forces elsewhere.

Mr Zelenskyy on Thursday announced that Oleksandr Makhov, a television reporter, had been killed while fighting outside the north-eastern city of Izyum.

Makhov, 36, also fought in the 2014 conflict when Russian speakers staged separatist insurrections in two eastern regions of Ukraine.

He is at least the eighth journalist to have died in more than two months of conflict.

Updated: May 05, 2022, 6:14 AM
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