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The Russian ambassador to Israel stormed out of a Victory Day event hosted by the Knesset after some of its members condemned the war in Ukraine, Israeli reports said Tuesday.
Anatoly Viktorov reportedly left the Israeli parliament grumbling after Knesset members used the day’s celebrations to go after Russia’s deadly campaign.
“The war in Ukraine is a crime,” Ukrainian-born Israeli member of the Knesset Yevgeny Soba said during the event, according to the Israeli news outlet Mako. “I cannot help but look with pain at what is happening.
“It hurts me, especially that whoever fought the Nazi oppressor and brought victory, today is fighting each other,” he added. “The war is a slap in the face to our generation of grandparents who fought the Nazis.”
Victory Day, or Victory in Europe Day, commemorates the day World War II ended in Europe, when the Nazis signed the German Instrument of Surrender to the Allied Expeditionary Force and the Soviet Union.
Though the day is celebrated throughout Europe and in Israel, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned the memorialized day into an element of his propaganda machine.
Putin has attempted to justify his deadly invasion by alleging he is “denazifying” Ukraine – a claim that has been flatly rejected by Western nations that have pointed to the fact that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was democratically elected and is Jewish.
Russia held parades in warn-torn cities across Ukraine like Mariupol, which has seen some of the most brutal attacks in the country since the war began nearly 11 weeks ago.
The war has caused the greatest humanitarian crisis in Europe since WWII, displacing millions and killing at least 7,000 Ukrainian civilians.
In the lead-up to Victory Day, Ukrainian officials warned that Russian forces may attempt to use Ukrainian prisoners of war and arbitrarily detained civilians to march in the parades, though it is unclear if this occurred.
Israeli-Russian relations have deteriorated in recent weeks after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested Zelenskyy’s Jewish background was not evidence to support that his administration was not engaging in antisemitic behavior.
“In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything,” Lavrov told an Italian news outlet earlier this month.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid shot back at Lavrov’s comments and called them “unforgivable.”
“Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust,” the Israeli foreign minister said. “The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of anti-Semitism.”
Putin allegedly apologized to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the incendiary remarks.
Bennett’s office said the minister accepted the apology last week.
Fox News’ Dana Karni contributed to this report.