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Israel denounced comments made by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who claimed that Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots, and summoned the Russian ambassador to make an apology.

Yair Lapid, the Israeli foreign minister, said the Russian ambassador to Israel would be summoned for a “tough talk” over the comments, which Lavrov made on Sunday in an interview with an Italian television network.

“It is an unforgivable, scandalous statement, a terrible historical mistake, and we expect an apology,” Lapid said.

During the interview, Lavrov was asked how Russia could claim that it needed to “de-Nazify” Ukraine when the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was Jewish.

He replied: “When they say ‘What sort of Nazification is this if we are Jews’, well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing.”

Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, called Lavrov’s remarks “an insult and a severe blow to the victims of the real Nazism”.

Speaking on Israel’s Kan radio, Dayan said Lavrov was spreading “an antisemitic conspiracy theory with no basis in fact”.

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