Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Sunday compared Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Adolf Hitler because the Nazi leader “was also of Jewish origin.”
Lavrov spoke to Italy’s Rete4 in his first interview with a Western network since Russia began its attack on Ukraine and defended Moscow’s claims that it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” the country, even though Zelenskyy was Jewish.
Lavrov said the Ukrainian government was “an instrument of the Nazi extremists and of the United States government,” Italian news site ilFattoQuotidiano.it reported.
Lavrov argued that “Nazification exists. Is Zelenskyy Jewish? Hitler also had Jewish origins. The greatest anti-Semites are precisely the Jews.”
Persistent conspiracy theories that Hitler had some Jewish ancestry might have motivated the Nazi leader’s antisemitism and the murder of 6 million Jews have been repeatedly debunked by historians, The Times of Israel reported.
Lavrov repeated Kremlin talking points that called reports of the Bucha atrocities fake, said that gas will be paid for in rubles, and that diplomacy must be used to prevent nuclear war.
“I was surprised by the position of Italy, in the vanguard against Russia. I thought it knew how to distinguish black from white,” Lavrov told Rete4.
Lavrov also accused the U.S. of torpedoing peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv and accused the Western media of distorted coverage of the war and painting “distorted views of me.”
In late March, Zelenskyy compared Russia to Nazi Germany when he called on Israel to take a stronger stand against Moscow, delivering an emotional appeal.
In a speech to Israeli lawmakers, Zelenskyy said it was time for Israel, which had emerged as a key mediator between Ukraine and Russia, to finally take sides. He said Israel should follow its Western allies by imposing sanctions and providing arms to Ukraine.
“One can ask for a long time why we can’t accept weapons from you or why Israel didn’t impose sanctions against Russia, why you are not putting pressure on Russian business,” he said. “It is your choice, dear brothers and sisters.”
Zelenskyy made frequent references to the Holocaust as he tried to rally support.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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