Putin speaks with Israel's Bennett, apologizes for Lavrov's comments
'A thorough exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine continued,' the Kremlin said
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday discussed the Ukraine crisis and the Holocaust amid tensions over Moscow's remarks regarding Adolf Hitler.
"A thorough exchange of views on the situation in Ukraine continued," the Kremlin said, adding the two leaders also discussed "historic memory" and the Holocaust.
During the conversation, Putin reportedly apologized for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's comments, according to Bennett's office.
Lavrov said that the fact that Ukraine’s leader is Jewish does not negate Moscow’s claimed purpose to “denazify” the country.
“So what if Zelensky is Jewish. The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood,” Lavrov said, adding that “some of the worst antisemites are Jews.”
Several Israel leaders, including Bennett, condemned the comments from Lavrov.
Bennett said, according to a tweet from the Prime Minister's Office, "I view with utmost severity the Russian Foreign Minister's statement. His words are untrue and their intentions are wrong."
He stated that "lies like these are meant to blame the Jews themselves for the most terrible crimes in history, which were committed against them, and thus free the oppressors of the Jews from their responsibility.”
The Israeli Prime Minister also spoke with Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky regarding the comments from Lavrov.