Putin Apologized for Foreign Minister’s Claim That Hitler was Part Jewish, Israel Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin apologized for his foreign minister’s claim that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “had Jewish blood,” Israel said on May 5.

Putin made the apology in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, according to a statement from Bennett’s office.

“The Prime Minister accepted President Putin’s apology for Lavrov’s remarks and thanked him for clarifying his attitude towards the Jewish people and the memory of the Holocaust,” the statement said.

The statement also said that Bennett asked Putin to consider allowing evacuations of the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol.

An earlier readout from the phone call by Putin’s office said that the two leaders discussed the Holocaust but did not mention an apology.

The phone call followed a diplomatic dispute over Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s remarks in an interview with Italian television network Mediaset on May 1.

Lavrov had said that Hitler “had Jewish blood” after he was asked to justify Russia’s claim to “de-Nazify” Ukraine when Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, is Jewish.

Bennett had criticized Lavrov’s remarks as “lies” while Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid had described them as “unforgivable and outrageous.”

Israel had demanded an apology, subsequently summoning Russian Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov.

On May 2, the Russian Foreign Ministry doubled down, accusing Lapid of making a statement that “contradicts history and largely explains the policy by the current Government of Israel to support the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.”

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