The Russian Foreign Ministry said Israel supports the “neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv,” which escalated the diplomatic row.
In view of this, Israel sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and expressed support for its people, but the government did not join the international sanctions against Russia.
That paved the way for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to be able to try to mediate between the two sides, an effort that appears to have stalled as Israel deals with its own internal turmoil.
In a speech at the end of March before the Israeli parliament, Zelensky called on Israel to “make a choice” by supporting Ukraine against Russia, and demanded that the Jewish state provide it with arms.
Nazism figured prominently in Russia’s war objectives and narratives while fighting in Ukraine.
In his attempt to legitimize the war for Russian citizens, President Vladimir Putin has portrayed the battle as a struggle against the Nazis in Ukraine, even though the country has a democratically elected government and a Jewish president whose relatives were murdered in the Holocaust.
Putin cited the presence of units such as the Azov Battalion within the Ukrainian army as one of the reasons for launching the so-called “special military operation”.
Azov is a far-right all-volunteer infantry unit established in 2014 to fight pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Its early members were ultra-nationalists and were accused of harboring neo-Nazi ideology and white supremacy. The unit has since been incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine.
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