Zelensky holds Independence Day call with Bennett on Lavrov’s Hitler remarks

As Israel celebrated its 74th birthday, the Ukrainian president said comments by Russian foreign minister had outraged the world.

 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky  (photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said he had spoken to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and discussed the “scandalous and completely unacceptable remarks” by Russia’s foreign minister about Hitler.

The call came as Israel celebrated its 74th Independence Day.

In an early morning video address, Zelensky said the comments by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had outraged the entire world.

 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after his talks with representatives of Arab League nations, in Moscow, Russia, April 4, 2022.  (credit: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL VIA REUTERS) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference after his talks with representatives of Arab League nations, in Moscow, Russia, April 4, 2022. (credit: ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL VIA REUTERS)

In an interview on Sunday, Lavrov said the Nazi dictator had “Jewish blood,” sparking outrage in Israel. In his most explicit condemnation of a Russian official since the war on Ukraine began on February 24, Bennett spoke out against Lavrov’s claim that Hitler was part Jewish.

The remarks were a first for Bennett, who has not condemned Russia, though Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has repeatedly done so and Israel has voted against it in the UN.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned “Lavrov’s antisemitic remarks” in a tweet on Thursday.

“I emphasized that antisemitism has a long track record among Russian elites. The only way out for FM Lavrov is to publicly apologize before Jews around the world. Antisemitism cannot be tolerated,” he wrote.

Reuters and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.