Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday met with representatives of local Jewish religious organizations and spoke with students at a Jewish school in Kyiv on the occasion of Passover, which begins at sundown on Monday.

Zelenskyy attended one of the lessons and thanked the school for the invitation on a significant holiday for Jews, which symbolizes the victory of freedom over slavery, his office said in a statement.

"How symbolic it is that we are in a Jewish school in a bomb shelter. This is our Passover eve. This is a very important signal to the whole world that every people and nation is fighting for freedom and their values, which are more important than the conditions of us being in a bomb shelter, of children having a bomb shelter. And this is not their choice, it’s what Russia did... The Jewish community supports Ukraine in the fight for freedom for the sake of all our children and the future," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a meeting with rabbis.

The President emphasized that it was extremely important to bolster air defense to protect the Ukrainian people. He also thanked the representatives of Jewish organizations for helping to engage international partners, including the United States, in helping Ukraine.

The chief rabbis of the cities noted that they had not left the country since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of the country, as it is extremely important to stay with one’s community during the war. They assured that they would continue to make every effort and pray for Ukraine's victory.

Zelenskyy has often been the subject of controversial statements by Russia’s leadership about his Jewish background.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Western powers had installed Zelenskyy as President of Ukraine in an attempt “to cover up the glorification of Nazism”.

“Western curators have put a person at the head of modern Ukraine - an ethnic Jew, with Jewish roots, with Jewish origins. And thus, in my opinion, they seem to be covering up an anti-human essence that is the foundation ... of the modern Ukrainian state,” Putin told Russian television reporter Pavel Zarubin.

In response, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said, “Vladimir Putin linked the Jewish origin of the President of Ukraine with the glorification of Nazism. Putin’s chronic fixation on the ethnic origin of the Ukrainian president is yet another manifestation of the deep-rooted antisemitism of the Russian elites.”

The ministry called on the international community to "strongly condemn Putin's antisemitic statements. In today's world, there should be no place for hatred based on ethnicity."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came under fire last May when he said that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish blood.

In an interview with an Italian news channel, Lavrov referred to the fact that Zelenskyy is Jewish and said, “In my opinion, Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it doesn’t mean absolutely anything. For some time we have heard from the Jewish people that the biggest antisemites were Jewish.”

Zelenskyy said in response that Lavrov’s comments show that Moscow "has forgotten all the lessons of World War II or perhaps never learned them."

In June, Putin lashed out at the Ukrainian President and claimed that "Zelenskyy is not even Jewish" when asked at a conference why he continues to call Zelenskyy a "Nazi".