Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is blasting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for recent comments about the country’s goal to “denazify” Ukraine and a claim that Adolf Hitler was Jewish.
Lavrov was asked during an interview on an Italian news channel on Sunday how Russia can claim it’s getting rid of supposed Nazis in Ukraine if President Volodymyr Zelensky is himself Jewish.
“So when they say, ‘How can Nazification exist if we’re Jewish?’ In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything. For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest anti-Semites were Jewish,” he said, speaking to the station in Russian, dubbed over by an Italian translation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has attempted to portray the invasion as a struggle against Nazis in Ukraine, relying on Russia’s history of helping to defeat Germany in the Second World War as a way to bolster support at home.
“[The comments] are ridiculous and unacceptable,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Ontario on Monday.
“Canada and all right-thinking countries around the world and Canadians and everyone who stands against the horrors of the Holocaust and the tremendously concerning rise in hate crimes, whether it be anti-Semitism or anti-Islamophobia or anti-Black racism, we need to stand condemning ever stronger the ridiculous and unacceptable positions of Russia.”
Trudeau is the latest world leader to weigh in on Lavrov’s remarks.
Listen to the prime minister’s reaction at the top of this article.
With files from The Associated Press.