Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, apologized for comments made by his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which were considered antisemitic by Israeli leaders, the Prime Minister's office said.
Lavrov said earlier this week, that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's Jewish origin did not negate the presence of Nazis in his government and claimed Hitler too had Jewish Blood.
Putin also told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a phone call, that Russia was still ready to provide safe passage for civilians from the besieged Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, according to a statement from the Kremlin.
Bennett asked Putin for the humanitarian gesture following an earlier conversation he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
In the statement, the Kremlin did not refer to the diplomatic incident caused by Lavrov's comments and the later statements made by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, but did say that Putin congratulated Bennett on the occasion of Israel's 74th Independence Day and that the friendly relations between the two nations, will continue.
"The two leaders exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine," the statement read and went on to say that special attention was given to the humanitarian issues such as the extraction of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol and that Kyiv should order its fighters holed up there to put down their arms.
Ukrainian defenders trapped at the site have clung on desperately for weeks, while some civilians have made it to safety through humanitarian corridors, but others remain inside.
The Kremlin earlier denied that Russian forces were storming the plant, referring to an April 21 order from Putin that they should seal it off but not venture inside its labyrinth of underground tunnels.
In Thursday's statement, the Kremlin said Putin and Bennett, looking forward to the May 9 anniversary when Russia commemorates victory over the Nazis in World War Two, "emphasized the special significance of this date for the peoples of both countries, who carefully preserve the historical truth about the events of those years and honor the memory of all the fallen, including victims of the Holocaust"
Earlier, Putin sent a letter to President Issac Herzog congratulating him on Independence Day.
"The relations between the two countries, which are based on friendship and mutual respect, will continue to grow for the benefit of our people and the security of the Middle East," Putin wrote.