Putin takes aim at Zelensky's Jewish roots in stunning attack

Saint Petersburg, Russia - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, was a "disgrace" to people of his faith.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a "disgrace to the Jewish people."
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a "disgrace to the Jewish people."  © via REUTERS

"I have a lot of Jewish friends," Putin told an annual economic forum in Saint Petersburg. "They say that Zelensky is not Jewish, that he is a disgrace to the Jewish people."

"I'm not joking," he added.

AFP and representatives of other countries the Kremlin deems "unfriendly" were not accredited to cover the forum.

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Moscow claims Ukraine's treatment of Russian speakers in the Western-backed country is comparable to the actions of Nazi Germany.

These allegations have been contested by the Ukrainian government and the country's Jewish community, as well as numerous historians.

Putin said Moscow "must fight" neo-Nazism, adding that Russia had suffered enormous losses during the country's fight against Nazi Germany in World War II.

"We will never forget it," he said. "Why is no one listening to us?"

As far as Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive is concerned, Putin gave it short shrift: "I think that Ukraine's armed forces stand no chance here, as well as in other directions – I have no doubt about that."

Cover photo: via REUTERS

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