Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement in which he said his actions were to implement the “demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine.”
The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who was democratically elected, is Jewish. He said on Wednesday, “You are told we are Nazis, but how can a people support Nazis that gave more than 8 million lives for the victory over Nazism? How can I be a Nazi? Tell my grandpa, who went through the whole war in the infantry of the Soviet Army and died as a colonel in independent Ukraine.”
Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, tweeted, “In his attempt to justify the unjustifiable, #Russia’s assault on #Ukraine, Putin referred to a fictional genocide & set goal of ‘denazification of Ukraine,’ a country that overwhelmingly elected a Jew president. Goebbels & Hitler would have been impressed.”
In his attempt to justify the unjustifiable, #Russia's assault on #Ukraine, Putin referred to a fictional genocide & set goal of "denazification of Ukraine," a country that overwhelmingly elected a Jew president.
Goebbels & Hitler would have been impressed.
— Steven Pifer (@steven_pifer) February 24, 2022
Putin stated in a televised address:
I have taken the decision to carry out a special military operation. Its goal will be to defend people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kyiv regime. For this we will aim for demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as taking to court those who carried out multiple bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.
Putin also stated he was acting to stop an attempt to “root out the Russian language and culture.” On Monday, he stated, “The policy to root out the Russian language and culture and promote assimilation carries on. The Verkhovna Rada has generated a steady flow of discriminatory bills, and the law on the so-called Indigenous people has already come into force. People who identify as Russians and want to preserve their identity, language and culture are getting the signal that they are not wanted in Ukraine.”
Zelensky, who hails from the central city of Kryvyi Rih, speaks fluent Russian, as France 24 noted in 2019.
Putin, speaking of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, asserted, “The so-called civilized world… prefers to ignore it as if there were none of this horror, genocide that almost four million people are being subjected to.”
“There is no evidence of genocide in eastern Ukraine,” the BBC reported. “And Mr Putin’s claim has been dismissed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as ‘ridiculous.’”
Nina Jankowicz, a fellow at the Wilson Center, told PBS News, “We have no evidence of Ukrainian aggression or, as Putin talked about in his speech the other day, of — quote, unquote — ‘genocide’ by the Ukrainian army. There’s just no evidence that any of this exists.”
“When justifying Russia’s military actions against Ukraine in 2014, Putin claimed to be protecting ethnic Russians,” Business Insider pointed out. “Russia in 2014 invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, and in the years since supported rebels in a war against Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbas region. The U.S. at the time categorically rejected Putin’s claims that ethnic Russians were under threat.”