Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday condemned recent remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as “sickening” and antisemitic.
“As the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States, I take particular umbrage at what Mr. Lavrov said,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor.
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In remarks on Italian television on Sunday, Lavrov attempted to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by arguing it is attempting to “de-Nazify” the country, brushing off that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is himself Jewish.
Lavrov said Zelensky “puts forward an argument: What kind of Nazism can they have if he is a Jew?”
“I may be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood," Lavrov said. “It means absolutely nothing. The wise Jewish people say that the most ardent antisemites are usually Jews.”
The remarks were widely condemned by Western officials, including Israeli and German officials, who oppose Russia’s invasion.
Schumer called the comments “sickening.”
“Mr. Lavrov’s comments are just sickening and deserve to be condemned by all who oppose the dangers of antisemitism,” Schumer said. “They tap into the very old and very poisonous notion that the Jewish people themselves were the architects of the worst human atrocities of modern history, even when they were aimed at Jews themselves.”
The comments are “fooling no one,” Schumer argued.
“The war crimes committed by Russia are as plain as day for the world to see,” he said.
Schumer added the comments were “chilling to see from Russia's top diplomat.”
“You should not be called a diplomat after saying that,” he said.
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Schumer said congressional appropriators are working on an agreement to send additional aid to Ukraine on President Joe Biden’s request.