A spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday claimed that Israeli “mercenaries” are fighting in Ukraine together with the Azov battalion, a far-right Ukrainain military unit with neo-Nazi roots, in a further escalation of the Russian rhetoric against Israel which started with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s comment that “Hitler had Jewish blood.”
After Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned Lavrov’s statements, Russia’s Foreign Ministry escalated the conflict by claiming that Israel supports “the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine,” and the ministry’s spokeswoman continued with that line in an interview on Wednesday.
“I’ll say something that Israeli politicians won’t want to hear,” Maria Zakharova said on Russia’s Sputnick Radio. “Israeli mercenaries are shoulder-to-shoulder with Azov militants in Ukraine.”
Zakharova’s claim that Israelis are fighting along Ukrainian soldiers is true as there are a number of Ukrainian-Israelis fighting in the war. But there are no reports of Israelis fighting together with Azov soldiers and such a prospect is extremely unlikely.
A video of Ukrainian-Israelis fighting in Ukraine circulated on social media last week. In the video, which was filmed before or during Pesach, a group of Ukrainian soldiers – speaking in Hebrew – express their thanks to Am Yisrael and the Israeli government for supporting them in the fight against Russia. They also thank Chief Rabbi of Kyiv Rav Moshe Azman for his support and for providing them food for Pesach.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)