Russia Says Israel Using Ukraine Invasion as 'Distraction' From Palestinian Issue

After Israel votes to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, Russia's foreign ministry says 'regrettable' statements by Lapid 'a poorly camouflaged attempt to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine'

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at a press conference in Tel Aviv, on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at a press conference in Tel Aviv, on Tuesday.Credit: Hadas Parush

The Russian foreign ministry criticized on Friday "anti-Russian" remarks made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, in which he defended Israel's vote to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Quoted by the TASS Russian news agency, the Russian Foreign Ministry called Lapid's statements, made following last week's vote, "regrettable."

"We have taken note of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s aggressive statement" the Foreign Ministry said. "The Israeli Foreign Minister’s statements evoke regret and rejection."

It continued, "There was a poorly camouflaged attempt to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine to distract the international community’s attention from one of the oldest unsettled conflicts – the Palestinian-Israeli one."

The UN General Assembly voted in favor of suspending Russia from its Human Rights Council over Putin's invasion of Ukraine, which has recently seen particularly horrific imagery emerge in the wake of Russia's drawback from key areas around Kyiv.

Israel voted in favor of the proposal, the most significant step it has publicly taken against Russia since the war began, alongside its support for the UN General Assembly's condemnation of Russia a few weeks ago.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said Russia's "unjustified invasion" of Ukraine and the "killing of innocent civilians" were the reason for Israel supporting the motion.

Still Lapid said the vote "doesn't change our view of the UN Human Rights Council, which is a radical, morally flawed, biased and anti-Israeli body."

The resolution to suspend Russia from the UN's top rights body was introduced by the United States, Britain and others. There were 93 Yes votes, 24 No votes and 58 abstentions.

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