This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
White House national-security spokesman John Kirby has sharply rebuked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for a comment that compared the coalition of countries backing Ukraine with the Nazis’ ‘final solution’ to eradicate the Jews.
“How dare he compare anything to the Holocaust — anything — let alone a war that they started,” Kirby said, speaking to reporters at the White House.
Lavrov said earlier in his annual news conference that Washington was using the same tactic as the Nazis in trying to subjugate Europe in order to destroy Russia.
Using Ukraine as a proxy, he said, “they are waging war against our country with the same task: the ‘final solution’ of the Russian question.”
“Just as Hitler wanted a ‘final solution’ to the Jewish question, now, if you read Western politicians…they clearly say Russia must suffer a strategic defeat.”
Kirby said Lavrov’s comments were so absurd they almost were not worth responding to “other than the truly offensive manner in which he tried to cast us in terms of Hitler and the Holocaust.”
The final solution led to the systematic murder of 6 million Jews and members of other minorities at concentration camps across Europe.
Lavrov has caused outrage before by making remarks about Hitler in the context of the war in Ukraine.
Israel summoned Russia’s ambassador on May 2 and demanded an apology after the Russian foreign minister suggested that Hitler had Jewish roots.
Lavrov was defending Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of “de-Nazifying” Ukraine when he told an Italian television channel that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Jewish ancestry did not undermine Putin’s position.
“When they say ‘What sort of Nazification is this if we are Jews,’ well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it does not mean anything,” Lavrov said.
“For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves,” Lavrov claimed.
At the time, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the Russian foreign minister’s comments were “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error.”