On January 18, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at a Moscow news conference on the performance of Russian diplomacy in 2022, claimed the goal of the Western coalition helping Ukraine is the complete annihilation of the Russian people.
Lavrov likened it to the Holocaust:
"Like Napoleon, who mobilized nearly all of Europe against the Russian Empire, and Hitler, who occupied the majority of European countries and hurled them at the Soviet Union, the United States has created a coalition of nearly all European member states of NATO and the EU and is using Ukraine to wage a proxy war against Russia with the old aim of finally solving the ‘Russian question,’ like Hitler, who sought a final solution to the ‘Jewish question.' "
That is false.
The coalition effort, the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, consists of more than 50 countries. While primarily NATO and EU members, they also includes countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The group formed to support Ukraine in a defensive fight against the Russian invasion. There are no plans to resolve the “Russian question” or eliminate Russians.
Russia expanded its military incursion into Ukraine on February 24, 2022 after eight years of inciting conflict in the eastern Donbas region and the 2014 takeover of Crimea.
Opposition to Russia's moves have been broadly international, not limited to the U.S. and Europe.
On March 2, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the invasion, “reaffirming that no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal,” and demanding withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
The resolution was supported by 141 U.N. member states and opposed by just five – Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria – with 35 abstentions.
Since then, many countries have imposed sanctions against Russia and its ally, Belarus.
On April 26, senior military officials from more than 40 countries met at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss how to assist Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters at a press briefing following the meeting:
"Russia's invasion is baseless, reckless and lawless. It is an affront to the rules-based international order. It is a challenge to free people everywhere. And, as we see this morning, nations of goodwill from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia's imperial aggression.”
He added that the group would meet monthly:
“The contact group will be a vehicle for nations of goodwill to intensify our efforts, coordinate our assistance, and focus on winning today’s fight and the struggles to come.”
At the contact group’s eighth meeting, held January 20, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia showed no signs of preparing for peace but, rather, a long war:
“Like most wars, this is likely to end at the negotiating table, but what happens in negotiations is directly linked to what happens on the battlefield, so we need to deliver more weapons to Ukraine now.”
Lavrov’s accusation that the United States and the others aim at “solving the ‘Russian question’,” the same way Hitler sought a “final solution” to the “Jewish question," is evidence free. In fact, Russia's extensive attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine have brought international condemnation and credible war crimes allegations.
The "final solution" was the phrase used by Nazi Germany for the mass murder of Jews.
On January 18, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) responded to Lavrov’s comments:
“We are shocked and appalled by this shameful comparison drawn by Minister Lavrov between the actions of a coalition of democratic countries and Hitler’s persecution and murder of six million Jews in the Shoah,” EJC President Ariel Muzicant said.
“This is Holocaust distortion at its most basic level, and we call on Mr. Lavrov to unequivocally apologize and withdraw these comments.”
Countries in the Defense Contact Group have sent billions of dollars worth of military aid to Ukraine, including air defense systems, tanks, personnel carriers and artillery. The United States has been the leading donor.