Responding to recent comments from Russian foreign minister Sergei V. Lavrov, former U.S. ambassador William Taylor said the remarks "just demonstrate the total depravity, really, evil nature of the Russian government top to bottom."
"It demonstrates that there is no justification, there was no justification, there's no rationale for this invasion," Taylor said during an MSNBC segment. "Ukraine posed no threat to the Russians -- they [the Russians] had to manufacture some reason ... the moral clarity of this war is there for all to see."
Moscow has previously claimed that it wants to "de-militarize" and "de-Nazify" Ukraine.
Lavrov, speaking to Italian outlet Mediaset's Rete 4 channel in an interview released Sunday, claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy "puts forward an argument of what kind of Nazism can they have if he himself is Jewish."
Lavrov, according to a transcript posted on the Russian foreign ministry website, then added: "I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood."
The comment also prompted fierce criticism from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
"Jews did not murder themselves in the Holocaust," Lapid said in a statement. "The lowest level of racism against Jews is to accuse Jews themselves of antisemitism."
Israel's foreign ministry "has summoned the Russian Ambassador to Israel for a clarification meeting", the statement added.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett then denounced Lavrov's "lies" that he said effectively "accuse the Jews themselves of the most awful crimes in history," perpetrated against them.
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With additional reporting via AFP
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