Russia ‘disappointed’ by recent Israeli statements — senior official

Deputy foreign minister says Moscow expects a balanced, objective approach on Ukraine war from Jerusalem, as ties come under strain

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. (Video screenshot)
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. (Video screenshot)

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Thursday that Moscow is disappointed by recent “anti-Russian” statements by Israeli officials.

“Of course, we were a little disappointed in such anti-Russian statements by a number of responsible persons in Israel, because this does not correspond to the nature of the traditionally friendly relations that we have been building for 30 years since the late 1980s,” said Bogdanov in response to a question from the TASS Russian news agency.

The deputy minister made his comments on the sidelines of the “Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022” in the Russian republic of Tatarstan.

Bogdanov added that he expects Israel “to take a more balanced and objective position” on the war in Ukraine, according to TASS.

He also stressed that Russia cherishes the special nature of relations with Israel, especially around the memory of World War II. “In this regard, we have common positions, and we celebrate Victory Day on May 9, unlike many Western countries.”

Russia’s embassy in Tel Aviv declined to comment on the statement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; Prime Minister Naftali Bennett; and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Composite/AP)

Ties between Moscow and Jerusalem have been under particular stress in recent weeks.  Israel has tried to walk a fine line between Moscow and Kyiv but has recently become more critical of Russia as evidence emerged of Russian atrocities and growing antisemitic rhetoric from Russian leaders.

In early May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed that “Hitler also had Jewish blood” and that “some of the worst antisemites are Jews.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry doubled down on the remarks days later, saying Jews cooperated with Nazis and that Israel supports the “neo-Nazi regime” in Ukraine.

Last week, Russian envoy to Israel Anatoly Viktorov left a Knesset event commemorating Victory Day after lawmakers there criticized Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian S-300 air defense missile systems drive during the Victory Day military parade marking 71 years after the victory in WWII in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

On Friday night last week, as Israeli jets targeted northwest Syria, Russian forces reportedly opened fire with advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.

Days later, Israel sent Ukraine helmets and flak jackets that the Defense Ministry said will be given to rescue forces and civilian organizations.

Bogdanov previously summoned Israel’s ambassador in Moscow on the second day of the invasion, asking why Israeli officials were expressing sympathy for the “Nazi” regime in Kyiv.

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