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Kremlin: Israeli mercenaries fighting for Ukraine against Russia

Reservists of the 130th battalion of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces attend military exercises on the outskirts of Kiev, April 10, 2021. (File photo by Reuters)

Moscow says Israeli mercenaries have been fighting alongside Ukraine’s troops against Russian forces over the past few months of conflict. 

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, told Sputnik radio in an interview on Wednesday that the militant Israelis were active on the field alongside the far-right Azov Regiment, which has been operating under the command of Ukraine’s military since 2014.

“Israeli mercenaries are practically shoulder-to-shoulder with Azov militants in Ukraine.”

Azov rose to prominence in 2014, when its far-right activists took up arms to fight pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Its members are now part of the Ukrainian forces in the port city of Mariupol, holed up inside the Azovstal steel plant, against which Russian forces launched a major attack on Tuesday.

Russia views the Azov members as “fascists” and “Nazis.”

On May 1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood.” That fueled the already burning fire of war. The top Russian diplomat, speaking to Italian outlet Mediaset’s Rete 4 channel, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “puts forward an argument of what kind of Nazism can they have if he himself is Jewish.”

On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the “Jewish origins of the president (Zelensky) is not a guarantee of protection against rampant neo-Nazism in the country.”

The Israeli regime summoned Russia’s ambassador for “clarifications” on Monday.

In April, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Moscow hit back, accusing Israel of using Ukraine to “distract” global attention from its aggression against the Palestinians. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the operation in Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow’s list of demands, including never applying to join NATO.

Israel has expressed solidarity with Ukraine but unlike its Western allies, it has refrained from enforcing formal sanctions on Russia.

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