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'We are only acting against those who took Ukraine hostage'

Russian envoy to Israel claims Putin not out to conquer Ukraine, rails at fake news

Anatoly Viktorov slams media coverage he says is trying to portray Russia and Putin as ‘monstrous,’ particularly regarding deadly strike in Kyiv near Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov speaks at a press conference at the Russian Consulate in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)
Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov speaks at a press conference at the Russian Consulate in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)

The Russian ambassador to Israel claimed on Thursday that his country is not seeking to conquer Ukraine and decries “fake news” about Russia’s invasion of its western neighbor.

“We are only acting against those who took Ukraine hostage,” Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov said at a press briefing.

He maintained that the Russian army was not targeting civilians.

“There is incitement to hatred towards Russians all over the world. Everything we say is immediately defined as propaganda. Russian media were blocked in the West and Ukraine.”

He refused to clearly answer questions regarding the violent crackdowns and arrests of anti-war protesters in Russia.

Viktorov asked the Israeli government to examine the possibility that efforts of the Ukrainian embassy in Israel to recruit volunteers “constitute a violation of Israeli law or of Israel’s international obligations.”

Demonstrators carry placards and flags during a protest march against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Tel Aviv, on February 26, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In addition, he referred to the Israeli-Russian so-called deconfliction in Syria and said that “it is in the common interest of Russia and Israel to continue the coordination mechanism in Syria.”

He railed against media coverage that he says is trying to portray Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin as “monstrous,” particularly regarding a deadly strike in Kyiv near the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial earlier this week.

The strike did not appear to cause any direct damage to the memorial itself, though at least one missile struck a crop of buildings in a Jewish cemetery located in the Babyn Yar complex.

Ukrainian emergencies service said that five people were killed and five were injured in the missile strike.

Ukrainian firefighters stand beneath a television broadcast tower in the Jewish cemetery located in Kyiv’s Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site on March 1, 2022. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine)

The attack sparked a flurry of outrage and denunciations from Israel and international Jewish organizations.

“Ukraine claimed we bombed the Babyn Yar memorial. This is fake news,” Viktorov said.

Asked how Russia claims to carry out a “denazification” of Ukraine, whose president Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish, Viktorov replied: “The Ukrainian government supports neo-Nazis.”

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