Russia Summons Israeli Envoy After Lapid's 'Regrettable' Remarks on Ukraine War

Incident comes days after Russian Foreign Ministry criticized 'anti-Russia' statements by Foreign Minister Lapid, claiming that Israel is using Ukraine as 'distraction' from the Palestinian issue

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.Credit: AP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Moscow announced Monday that Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Bogdanov met with Israeli ambassador to Russia Alex Ben Zvi to "discuss several topics, with a focus on developments in Ukraine," after he was summoned for reprimand in light of Israel's vote to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

According to the announcement, the two also discussed the situation in Syria and Israeli-Palestinian tensions surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City of Jerusalem.

On Sunday, following remarks made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Moscow summoned Ben Zvi for a reprimand at the Russian Foreign Ministry. While the topic might have been brought up during Monday's meeting, Russia decided not to turn the matter into a public confrontation.

Israeli officials said Ben Zvi's summon isn't an indication of a deterioration in Russia-Israel relations, but rather a controlled confrontation. An Israeli diplomatic source said that “the summoning of the ambassador is unsurprising. It’s one of the available modes of response in the diplomatic toolbox.”

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized "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 statement after last week's vote, "regrettable."

"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 ministry said.

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.

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