Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was spotted Friday in his first public appearance since President Vladimir Putin reportedly apologized on his behalf over incendiary remarks he shot at Israel.
Lavrov attended a flower-laying ceremony in commemoration of former Soviet Union Foreign Ministry officials who died during the “Great Patriotic War” – a term coined by Russia in reference to World War II.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a ceremony, Friday, May 6, 2022. (Russian Foreign Ministry)
RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES
Lavrov does not appear to have publicly commented yet on remarks he made that caused an international spat and prompted Putin to apologize on his behalf, according to Israel.
The foreign minister this week alleged that Adolf Hitler was Jewish and suggested this claim supported the belief that Jews can express antisemitism.
The highly controversial comments were made as an attempt to defend Putin’s talking points to support the illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian president has repeatedly claimed his “special military operation” is a move to “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and the international community have rejected these claims as a guise to justify his deadly war as he looks to regain former Soviet territory – pointing to the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and was democratically elected.
According to the Israeli foreign ministry Thursday, Putin apologized to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the remarks, though a direct transcript of the call was not released.
The Russian readout from the call did not mention an apology and instead stated that both countries “carefully preserve the historical truth about the events of those years and honor the memory of all the fallen, including victims of the Holocaust.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during their meeting, in Sochi, on Oct. 22 2021. (Yevgeny Biyatov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
PUTIN APOLOGIZES TO ISRAEL FOLLOWING LAVROV’S HITLER REMARKS
Lavrov drew international ire after he told an Italian news outlet that “For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish.”
“When they say ‘How can Nazification exist if we’re Jewish?’ In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything,” he added.
But despite Putin’s alleged apology, the foreign minister’s comments have drawn condemnation from other nations hit hard by Nazi occupation during WWII.
Representatives from Poland to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Thursday accused Lavrov of reviving “a disgraceful antisemitic trope” and condemned his attempts to “draw on one of the most sinister antisemitic myths in an effort to discredit the President of Ukraine and his government.”
Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media on March 10, 2022. (AP Photo)
“We had hoped that the distorted notion that Jews are responsible for their own misfortune and that they were the architects of the Holocaust itself, was relegated to the darkest corners of society,” the statement added.
Russia on Friday pushed back on the statement and accused Poland’s OSCE representatives of being “anti-Russian” and claimed Lavrov’s comments were taken “out of the context.”