TEL AVIV, Israel – Israel has summoned the Russian ambassador over comments from Russia’s foreign minister on Nazism and anti-Semitism.
In an interview with an Italian news channel, Sergei Lavrov explained that Ukraine may still have Nazi elements, even if some figures, including the country’s president, are Jews.
“Hitler was also of Jewish descent, so that doesn’t mean anything,” he said, according to an Italian translation.
In a statement Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the remarks “unforgivable and scandalous and a terrible historical mistake.”
“Jews did not commit suicide in the Holocaust,” Lapid said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism.
The Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem called the statements “absurd, deceptive, dangerous and reprehensible.”
The harsh reaction contrasts with Israel’s position on the war in Ukraine, where it has tried to maintain a semblance of neutrality. It relies on Russia to coordinate security in Syria and has been praised in its criticism of the Russian invasion. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has also tried to mediate between the two countries, although efforts appear to be stalled.
KEY DEVELOPMENT OF THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
– Evacuation of civilians from the Ukrainian steel industry begins
– Pelosi, on a surprise trip to Kyiv, vows unwavering support from the United States
– Jill Biden will meet with Ukrainian refugees in Romania, Slovakia
Follow all AP stories about Russia’s war against Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
BRUSSELS – EU energy ministers meet later Monday to discuss Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland and to discuss planned new sanctions over Moscow’s war against Ukraine.
The 27-member EU imposed five rounds of sanctions on Russian officials, oligarchs, banks, companies and other organizations after Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February.
The European Commission is working on a sixth round of measures, which may include oil restrictions, but Russia-dependent countries such as Hungary and Slovakia are wary of taking tough action.
The EU executive may announce new sanctions proposals later this week. The measures must be approved by the member states – a process that can take several days.
Energy ministers will also consider what steps Russia should take if it increases its pressure by cutting off gas supplies to other countries.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Denmark will be the first Scandinavian country to reopen its diplomatic mission in Kyiv, meaning “Danes can have direct co-operation with our embassy and ambassador in the heart of the Ukrainian capital,” the foreign minister said. Yepe Kofod on Monday.
Kofod said the improved security situation means Ambassador Ole Egberg Mickelsen and his staff could return to Kyiv, where their embassy reopens on Monday.
However, Kofod, who traveled to the Ukrainian capital to reopen the embassy, told Danish media that “this is not a normal situation” as he spoke about the overall situation in Ukraine. Denmark, he added, still advises not to travel to a country where there is a “fierce war”.
ISTANBUL – The President of Turkey says that the war in Ukraine should not have a negative impact on the tourist season.
After prayers marking the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “very sensitive” to Turkey’s need for tourism revenue and had already pledged support.
Turkey is suffering from rising inflation and needs foreign currencies for tourists. Erdogan added that Saudi tourists would also arrive after his visit to Saudi Arabia last week.
In an interview with Greek state television ERT, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said Russian tourism brings revenue to neighboring Greece and Turkey, calling it “blood money”. Zelensky cited a double standard by which Turkey acted as a meditator between Ukraine and Russia while preparing destinations for Russian tourists.
Erdogan said he would speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week to discuss speeding up the evacuation from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol and finding a way to export grain from Ukraine and Russia.
LVIV, Ukraine – The British military estimates that more than a quarter of all troops Russia has deployed for its war in Ukraine are now “combat ineffective”.
The comment came Monday as part of a daily Twitter briefing proposed by the British Ministry of Defense on the ongoing war in Ukraine. The British military estimates that Russia has engaged more than 120 so-called “battalion tactical groups” in the war since February, representing 65% of Moscow’s total fighting force.
The ministry said: “Probably more than a quarter of these units have already become combat ineffective.”
Ineffective combat is a term that refers to the ability of the military to wage war. The loss of soldiers from wounds and death, as well as damaged or destroyed equipment, affects this.
The British military said that some of Russia’s most elite forces, such as VDV Airborne, “have suffered the highest levels of exhaustion.”
It added: “It will probably take years for Russia to rebuild these forces.”
Kyiv, Ukraine – Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Regiment, which is helping defend the last section of Mariupol not occupied by the Russians, said he was glad the evacuation had begun.
Palamar hopes that evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant will continue until everyone in the plant, civilians and soldiers, leaves. It was difficult to even reach some of the injured at the plant, he told the Associated Press in an interview with Mariupol on Sunday.
“There are ruins. We have no special equipment. “It is difficult for soldiers to pick up plates weighing tons by hand,” he said.
The Azovstal plant is littered with mines, missiles, artillery shells and unexploded cluster munitions, he said.
He said the presence of children and civilians made the battle difficult, and there were many wounded at the plant. There is not enough water, he said, and the air smells of decaying bodies.
Fighters at the plant will continue to resist until they are ordered not to do so, Palamar said.
An explosive device damaged a railway bridge on Sunday in Russia’s Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, and a criminal investigation has been launched. The regional government announced the blast in a Telegram post.
In recent weeks, there have been a number of fires and explosions in Russian regions near the border, including Kursk. An ammunition depot in the Belgorod region burned down after explosions were heard, and authorities in the Voronezh region said an air defense system had shot down a drone. An oil depot in Bryansk was engulfed in fire a week ago.
Sunday’s blast caused a partial collapse of a bridge near the village of Konopelka on the Sudja-Sosnovi Bor railway line, the Kursk report said.
“It was sabotage, a criminal case was opened,” regional governor Roman Starovoit said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency. He said there were no casualties and no effect on train traffic.
Kyiv, Ukraine – Four civilians have been reported killed and 11 injured in Russian shelling in the Donetsk region on Sunday, Ukraine’s regional governor said tonight.
The dead and seven of the wounded are in the northern city of Liman, Governor Pavlo Kirilenko wrote in a Telegram post. One person also died in the town of Bakhmut from injuries sustained in the Luhansk region, he said.
In the same post, Kirilenko said it was impossible to determine the number of victims in the bombed port city of Mariupol and the city of Volnovakha, which is controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists.
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Live updates l Israel FM: Russian remarks are “unforgivable”
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