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The Russian ambassador a Israel withdrew from a Victory Day event hosted by the Knesset after some of its members condemned the war in Ukraine, Israeli reports said Tuesday.
Anatoly Viktorov reportedly left the Israeli parliament grumbling after Knesset members used the day’s celebrations to chase Russia’s deadly campaign.
“The war in Ukraine is a crime,” Ukrainian-born Israeli Knesset member Yevgeny Soba said at the event, according to Israeli news Mako. “I can’t help but look painfully at what is happening.
“It hurts me, especially that whoever fought the Nazi oppressor and led to victory, is fighting each other today,” he added. “War is a slap in the face to our generation of grandparents who fought the Nazis.”
Victory Day, or Victory Day in Europe, commemorates the day World War II ended in Europe, when the Nazis signed the German instrument of surrender to the Allied Expeditionary Forces and the Soviet Union.
Although the day is celebrated across Europe and in Israel, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned the memorial day into an element of his propaganda machine.
Putin has attempted to justify his deadly invasion by claiming that he is “denazifying” Ukraine – a claim that has been flatly rejected by Western nations who have pointed out that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was democratically elected and is Jewish.
Russia has held parades in warning-torn cities across Ukraine such as Mariupol, which has seen some of the most brutal attacks in the country since the war began nearly 11 weeks ago.
The war caused the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II, displacing millions of people and killing at least 7,000 Ukrainian civilians.
Ahead of Victory Day, Ukrainian officials have warned that Russian forces may attempt to use arbitrarily detained Ukrainian POWs and civilians to march in parades, although it is unclear whether this has happened.
Israeli-Russian relations have deteriorated in recent weeks after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested that Zelenskyy’s Jewish background was no evidence that his administration was not behaving anti-Semitic.
“In my opinion, Hitler was also of Jewish origins, so it means absolutely nothing,” Lavrov told an Italian news bulletin earlier this month.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid responded to Lavrov’s comments and called them “unforgivable”.
“Jews did not kill themselves during the Holocaust,” the Israeli foreign minister She said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews of anti-Semitism themselves.”
Putin allegedly apologized to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the incendiary remarks.
Bennett’s office said the minister accepted the apology last week.
Fox News’ Dana Karni contributed to this report.