Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky brings shame on the entire Jewish people, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, pointing to Kiev’s turning a blind eye to neo-Nazi ideology.
Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the Russian leader was asked to comment on the criticism of Russia’s stated goal to “denazify” Ukraine, with Western experts arguing that such an aspiration is ridiculous because Zelensky himself is Jewish.
Putin responded by saying that his friends in the Jewish community do not share this view.
- “They say that Zelensky is not a Jew, he is a disgrace to the Jewish people. I’m not joking, this is not irony,” Putin said. He pointed to the fact that the current Ukrainian authorities openly celebrate Nazi figures, most notably supporters of Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the Third Reich during World War II.
- The Russian leader recalled that out of six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, 1.5 million were from Ukraine, with Ukrainian nationalists being heavily involved in mass executions.
However, nobody wants to hear about Bandera being an anti-Semite, because Zelensky himself is a Jew, Putin said. “But with his actions, he provides cover for this scum,” the Russian leader said.
- On Tuesday, Putin blasted Kiev’s decision to remove Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin – who he says basically founded Ukraine – from public squares and replace him with Bandera, whom he referred to as “a scoundrel and a fascist.” At the time, he said he was “surprised” by the move, pointing to Zelensky’s Jewish roots.