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Ukraine expects Israel to condemn Putin's antisemitic remarks, 'It looks bad if they don't'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 27, 2023 8:08 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak attends a briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 1, 2022. (Getty Images)
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President's Office Head Andriy Yermak said Ukraine expects an official comment from Israel after Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Ukrainian president "a disgrace to the Jewish people."

"If Israel doesn't issue any reaction, it looks really bad, you can't be neutral to Nazi statements," Yermak said on June 27.

On June 16, Putin gave a speech filled with antisemitic remarks.

"They say Zelensky is not a Jew, he is a disgrace to the Jewish people,” Putin said during a speech in Saint Petersburg.

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In an interview with the BBC, Zelensky said he had a hard time responding to such statements.

"It's like he doesn't fully understand his words. Apologies, but it's like he is the second king of antisemitism after Hitler," he said.

“This is a president speaking. A civilized world cannot speak that way. But it was important for me to hear the reaction of the world and I am grateful for the support,” he said.

Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman responded to Putin's words by saying he is “personally proud of President Zelensky for not fleeing, and for doing everything possible to help the Ukrainian people.”

Ukraine's frustration with Israel grows as the country notably avoids sending aid or condemning Russian actions in Ukraine.

Ukraine's Embassy in Israel issued a statement on June 25 saying that "the so-called 'neutrality' of the Israeli government is considered a clear pro-Russian position."

"While democratic countries impose sanctions on Russia, Israel imposed no sanctions at all, moreover it has increased bilateral trade with bloody Moscow regime during the last two year," the statement reads.

Yermak said that Ukraine expects Israel to make a choice.

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