Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday that the fact Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish does not negate his country's Nazi elements, claiming that Nazi Germany's leader Adolf Hitler also "had Jewish blood."
According to an interview with Italian media, Lavrov said: “So what if Zelenskyy is Jewish? The fact does not negate the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that Hitler also had Jewish blood. It means absolutely nothing. The wise Jewish people said that the most ardent antisemites are usually Jews."
In the interview, the Russian foreign minister also accused the U.S. and Canada of training "neo-Nazi subdivisions" that are now in the ranks of the Ukrainian army, referencing those holding out in Azovstal plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
There are publications "confirming that Americans and especially Canadians played a leading role in preparing ultra-radical, openly neo-Nazi subdivisions for Ukraine," Lavrov said, without stating which publications he was referring to.
Speaking to Army Radio on Monday, Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel blasted Lavrov's claim that Hitler was Jewish, a theory widely discredited by historians, as "delusions that are meant to justify the Russians' horrific acts in Ukraine."
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Asked why the prime minister or foreign ministry haven't yet condemned Lavrov's comments, Hendel responded that "in diplomacy there's a different time for things."
In the interview, Lavrov also said NATO and the EU have "resigned themselves to Washington's dominance," and that Washington has decided "that the world must now be monopolar."
Lavrov noted that Zelenskyy could promote peace between Russia and Ukraine if he stopped giving "criminal" instructions to his Nazi soldiers.
The Kremlin says it launched a "special military operation" on February 24 to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine, claiming its aim is to disarm and defeat nationalists within the country. Kyiv and its Western allies reject that as a false pretext for the invasion. Since the invasion began, both sides of the conflict have compared their opponents to Nazis and accused them of committing genocide.