(RightWing.org) – On September 20, a who’s who of global leaders and dignitaries met in New York City to honor this year’s recipients of the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award, an annual prize bestowed upon individuals who embody the concept of global citizenship and contribute to the strengthening of transatlantic relations. This year’s honorees included US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, gave a brief speech while presenting Kishida his award. She devoted much of her talk to the United States atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 without mentioning the US by name. She also managed to enrage Russian officials who accused her of rewriting the history of the significant World War II event.
Did the European Commission President Really Rewrite the History of WWII?
Von der Leyen intertwined recent events surrounding the Russia/Ukraine conflict and the atomic blast that instantly claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The Americans dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki three days later, killing another 74,000 people. She praised Kishida’s recent visit to the Ukrainian town of Bucha, noting that it was the first time a Japanese prime minister had visited a war zone since WWII.
Von der Leyen recounted last year’s G7 Summit in Japan and Kishida taking her and other leaders to his hometown of Hiroshima, a place she claimed “deeply shaped [his] life and leadership.”
She said the Hiroshima visit was a “sobering start” to that year’s gathering and one she won’t ever forget, “especially at a time when Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons once again [emphasis added].”
Russia Punches Back at Von der Leyen’s Claims
On September 22, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova issued a scathing statement criticizing von der Leyen’s failure to mention that the “US and its executioners” were responsible for dropping “a-bombs on populated Japanese cities and their civilian populations.”
Zakharova also criticized the European Commission head’s claim that Moscow planned to deploy nuclear weapons, calling her remarks “despicable and dangerous… lies.” She concluded her remarks by noting that “this bureaucrat” [van der Leyen] went a step further “and blamed the tragedy of Hiroshima… on Russia.”
Empire of lies and its lords
Nuclear weapons were used only twice in history. But at the Atlantic Council Awards, EU's Von der Leyen, without mentioning that both times US did it, falsely claimed that "Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons once again". Shame. pic.twitter.com/wRY2sntxl0
— Russian Embassy in Kenya/Посольство России в Кении (@russembkenya) September 23, 2023
The Russian Embassy in Kenya echoed that sentiment. It posted a brief statement on its X/Twitter page criticizing von der Leyen, pointing out that nuclear weapons had only been used twice — both times by the United States. It also posted a short clip of von der Leyen’s remark about Russian threats and captioned its post “Empire of lies and lords,” an apparent reference to the Atlantic Council.
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