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Russia summons Israel's ambassador over her ‘unacceptable’ remarks

February 7, 2024 at 10:34 am

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry yesterday summoned Israel’s ambassador over her controversial remarks in a media interview.

“The ambassador was informed…about the negative reaction of the Russian Foreign Ministry to her interview with Kommersant published on Feb. 4, which gave distorted interpretations and unacceptable assessments of some issues of Russian foreign and domestic policy,” the ministry said in a statement.

A “detailed thesis” refuting Simona Halperin’s remarks was published on the ministry’s website, it added.

It said that Russia is focused on developing bilateral ties with Israel “in the spirit of mutual respect and taking into account each other’s legitimate interests.”

In this context, the statement said it was expressed that Moscow counts on the constructive contribution of the head of the Israeli diplomatic mission in Russia.

During her interview with Russia’s Kommersant daily, Halperin expressed regret that International Holocaust Remembrance Day is not yet an official day in Russia’s state calendar, accusing Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of “downplaying the significance of this monstrous event.”

“Yes, many nations suffered heavy losses. The Russian people paid for the victory over Nazism with millions and millions of lives. And we remember this. But never before in history has the world known such a massive and systematic extermination of people solely on ethnic grounds. Only the Jewish people experienced this. I will repeat this tirelessly,” she said.

She also criticised Russia’s foreign policy since the outbreak of Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza on 7 October, including with regards to negotiations with the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on the release of Israeli prisoners of war.

“Russia, which itself suffered from terrorist attacks, does not support Israel’s fight against terrorism. On the contrary, it stands in solidarity with the Republic of South Africa, which filed an absurd lawsuit against Israel with the International Court of Justice, accusing it of genocide…Russia’s position worries and depresses me, since because of it, your country is losing the sympathy of Israelis, including Russian speakers,” Halperin added.

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