Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized Thursday to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for statements by his foreign minister, who said that Adolf Hitler had "jewish blood"reported the government of Israel.
"The prime minister accepted President Putin’s apology for the comments of [Serguéi] Lavrov and thanked him for clarifying his position on the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust."the Israeli statement noted.
Lavrov claimed last Sunday that the fact that Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky was of Jewish origin did not prevent him from leading a regime "neo-Nazi"as defined by Russia, which used that argument to invade Ukraine in February.
"I may be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood"said the head of Russian diplomacy.
Lavrov’s statements, which refer to rumors regularly denied by historians, sparked outrage in Israel.
Israel, which since the beginning of the conflict has tried to maintain a delicate balance between kyiv and Moscow, summoned the Russian ambassador the following day to demand "clarifications".
"Minister Lavrov’s comments are outrageous, inexcusable and a horrible historical mistake"Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday.
Bennett also denounced the "lies" of Lavrov and stated: "The use of the Jewish people’s Holocaust as a political tool must cease immediately".
The Russian minister’s statements were also condemned by Germany, the United States and Ukraine.
Ukraine considered Putin’s apology insufficient.
"I insist on the fact that anti-Semitism has existed for a long time in the Russian elite"said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, for whom Lavrov should personally "make his public apology to Jews around the world".
Russia multiplied criticism against Israel even after Lavrov’s statements, aggravating the controversy.
On Tuesday, Russian diplomacy reiterated Lavrov’s comments and accused Israel of "support the neo-Nazi regime in kyiv". And he pointed out that "history, unfortunately, knows tragic examples of cooperation between Jews and Nazis".
On Wednesday, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that "israeli mercenaries" They fight in Ukraine alongside the Azov battalion, a regiment founded by far-right militants before being integrated into the regular Ukrainian forces.
In the conversation this Thursday, Putin and Bennett evoked the importance of May 9, when Russia celebrates the victory over Nazism, and which allows "honor the memory of all the victims" of the Second World War, "including Holocaust victims"according to the Israeli statement.