Lavrov seen for first time since Putin apologizes for Hitler comments

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was spotted Friday in his first public appearance since President Vladimir Putin reportedly apologized on his behalf for inflammatory remarks he made against Israel.

Lavrov attended a flower laying ceremony in commemoration of former officials of the Soviet Union’s Foreign Ministry who died during the “Great Patriotic War” – a term coined by Russia in reference to World War II.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a ceremony, Friday, May 6, 2022.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a ceremony, Friday, May 6, 2022.
(Russian Foreign Ministry)

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Lavrov does not yet appear to have publicly commented on his remarks which sparked an international spat and prompted Putin to apologize on his behalf, according to Israel.

This week, the Foreign Secretary alleged that Adolf Hitler was Jewish and suggested that this claim supported the belief that Jews can express anti-Semitism.

The highly controversial comments were made as an attempt to defend Putin’s talking points in support of the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian president has repeatedly claimed that his “special military operation” was an attempt to “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and the international community have dismissed the claims as a pretext to justify its murderous war as it seeks to regain former Soviet territory – pointing to the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and was democratically elected.

According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday, Putin apologized to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the remarks, although a direct transcript of the call has not been released.

The Russian reading of the appeal did not mention an apology and instead said that the two countries “carefully preserve the historical truth about the events of those years and honor the memory of all the dead, including the victims of the ‘Holocaust”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as they meet in Sochi on October 22, 2021.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as they meet in Sochi on October 22, 2021.
(Evgueni Biyatov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

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Lavrov drew international ire after he told an Italian news outlet that “for some time now we have been hearing from the Jewish people that the biggest anti-Semites were Jews.”

“When they say ‘How can Nazification exist if we are Jews?’ In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so that means absolutely nothing,” he added.

But despite Putin’s purported apology, the foreign secretary’s comments drew condemnation from other nations hard hit by Nazi occupation during World War II.

On Thursday, representatives of Poland to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe accused Lavrov of reviving “a shameful anti-Semitic trope” and condemned his attempts to “draw on one of the most sinister anti-Semitic myths in an effort to discredit the Ukrainian president and his government.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to the media on March 10, 2022.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to the media on March 10, 2022.
(AP Photo)

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“We had hoped that the distorted notion that Jews were responsible for their own misfortune and that they were the architects of the Holocaust itself would be relegated to the darker recesses of society,” the statement added.

Russia Friday pushed back on the statement and accused the Polish OSCE representatives of being “anti-Russian” and claimed that Lavrov’s comments were taken “out of context”.



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