KYIV - The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed solidarity with Jewish people against the background of anti-Semitic statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and called on the governments of all countries to further isolate Russia. In a statement published on Monday, it said Lavrov’s comments are anti-Semitic attacks on the President of Ukraine and the Jewish people, and called it “absolutely unacceptable.”

Lavrov asserted over the weekend that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood,” prompting a furious Israeli response on Monday. “Russia is already too deep in its nonsense trying to justify the barbaric aggression against Ukraine. In fact, the Russian Foreign Minister questioned the existence of not only the Ukrainian nation but also the Holocaust. Lavrov deliberately insulted the memory of millions of Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis during World War II,” the statement read. Ukrainian foreign ministry called on the governments of all countries to take further steps to isolate Russian and impose an embargo on Russian oil and gas “that will deprive the Russian military machine of financial resources.”

Mariupol mayor

describes evacuation process as very difficult

As uncertainty continues over the progress of civilian evacuations from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, its mayor has said that the process is “very difficult” and dependent on Russian cooperation.

“We managed to take more than 100 people out of the bomb shelters, who are now heading to the territory controlled by Ukraine. We are waiting in hope that Russian troops will allow us to do this,” Vadym Boichenko told Ukrainian television. CNN has confirmed that Boichenko was referring to the people evacuated Sunday from the Azovstal steel complex.

Says Lavrov’s comments are anti-Semitic attacks on President of Ukraine and the Jewish people, and called it “absolutely unacceptable”

“The evacuation process is happening at a very high level, directly with the participation of the President of Ukraine and Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. I emphasize, it is very difficult,” he said.

As for the evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers, at least several hundred of whom are still holding out at the Azovstal plant, Boichenko said, “the issue of military evacuation is a separate procedure and a separate negotiation process. It is a closed process, negotiations are underway.” He also spoke about the so-called “filtration” centers set up by Russian forces to screen people leaving Mariupol. “Everyone who wants to leave for the territory controlled by Ukraine must go through this humiliating procedure. You need to sign up and wait.”

“On average, people wait a whole month for humiliating filtering,” Boichenko claimed. “Now we see a decrease in the flow of people arriving in Ukraine. The reason is that the Russians are creating obstacles so that people cannot leave.”

Boichenko went on to claim that at the filtration places, “men are deported to prisons and tortured. People are held there without food for two days or more, they sleep standing up.