Moscow, September 17, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sees Israel as a Russian-speaking country and called Russians and Israelis one family with a common history.
"Citizens of Russia and Israel are bound by ties of family, relatives, and friendship. This is a real network family, a common family. I am saying this without any exaggeration. There are nearly two million Russian-speaking citizens of Israel in this country, and we see Israel as a Russian-speaking state," Putin said at a Keren HaYesod convention on Tuesday.
His words drew laughter and applause.
"Our peoples have common and often tragic pages in history," he said.
The Keren HaYesod Foundation does a lot to preserve the historical truth about WWII, Putin said. "It is important to make generations aware of the truth about the horrible tragedy of the Holocaust, the horrible losses that our peoples suffered, and about the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis. This is absolutely essential so as to prevent the spread of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, religious, and racial intolerance in the modern world," Putin said.
"Russia and Israel, the peoples of our countries, are the same in that we deem any attempts to revise the outcomes of the war, distort the truth, and vindicate fascism and its henchmen to be absolutely unacceptable," he said.
"The further away WWII events are from us, the greater our responsibility is - both state and personal responsibility - for making sure that its bitter lessons, feats, and sacrifices are never forgotten," Putin said.
He said he was looking forward to seeing the members of the Israeli leadership at ceremonies in Russia marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in 2020.