From the day since the beginning of the war, before and during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russia has been busy in a disinformation campaign in media along with official statements to prove its unprovoked attack on Ukraine and its people. This week, a low water mark was reached when Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that even “Hitler had Jewish blood.”
The claim mentioned, “So what if Zelensky is Jewish?” he said, referring to the Ukrainian president. “The fact does not ignore the Nazi elements in Ukraine. I believe that also Hitler had Jewish blood. The wise Jewish people stated that the most ardent antisemites are Jewish.”
Russia has used the claim that its invasion aims at demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine as a pretext to invade a neighbouring country that it also says is a brother country. In fact, it uses the Nazi label to smear everyone it considers as its enemy and who opposes its policy in Ukraine. According to Lavrov, the Ukrainian president could promote peace if he stopped giving “criminal instructions” to his “Nazi” soldiers.
According to a disinformation review on Thursday morning issued by the EU East Stratcom Task Force, a task force which has been set up by the European External Action Service (EEAS), such claims aiming to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are not just factually false. “They trivialise the Holocaust, fuel antisemitism and corrode collective historical memory.”
Vice-president Margaritis Schinas tweeted on Monday that the comments by Lavrov “perpetuate the outrageous narrative on ‘denazification” of Ukraine, they are factually false, and distort as well as trivialise the Holocaust – the genocide of 6 million Jews. Any try to turn the victims of the Shoah into perpetrators is unacceptable.”
The Russian Foreign Minister’s remarks also drew heavy criticism across the political spectrum in Israel, which has been sitting on its fences in condemning Russia’s aggression and sending military equipment to help Ukraine defend itself. First to condemn him was Israeli’s foreign minister Yair Lapid who called the remarks “unforgivable, outrageous and a historical mistake.”
On Tuesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who normally chooses his words carefully, went on the offensive. “In a week when we are recalling the Holocaust, of all weeks, the Russian foreign minister chooses to share lies, which smell of antisemitism. I expect him to retract his words and apologise.”