The Russian Foreign Ministry claims that Israeli mercenaries are fighting in the war in Ukraine. Sputnik, a spokesman, told the Russian radio station that the Israelis are “practically shoulder to shoulder with the Azov battalion”.
The Russian information has not been independently confirmed. Russian state media often describes the Azov battalion as a Nazi movement. By suggesting that Israelis fight alongside Nazis, Russia fuels tensions with Israel.
The Azov battalion was historically associated with far-right views but has been reformed, according to Ukraine, and is now part of the Ukrainian military. For Russia, the “denazification” of Ukraine is one of the main goals of the “special peacekeeping mission”.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Israel of supporting “the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv”. Russia and Israel clashed a few days earlier because Lavrov stated that Jews are “the greatest anti-Semites” and that Adolf Hitler, like Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “also had Jewish blood”.
Israel reacted furiously to Lavrov’s statements. Foreign Secretary Yair Lapid called it “disgraceful, unforgivable and a historic mistake”.