Crowd of Ukrainian civilians confront Russian soldiers
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A message from the German embassy has divided opinion online during a debate about the history of Nazism on Twitter.

A post by the German embassy in South Africa claimed they are “experts” on the subject, and it's proven controversial on social media.

Vladimir Putin previously claimed he was sending Russian troops to invade Ukraine to help "de-Nazification" the county in a bid to legitimise the war – a claim which was swiftly ridiculed around the world.

Since then, the Russian embassy in the country posted a message on Saturday thanking people in South Africa for their solidarity in 'targeting Nazism'.

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"We appreciate your support and glad you decided to stand with us today, when Russia, like 80 years ago, is fighting Nazism in Ukraine,” the message said, referencing the 17 African nations who abstained from voting on a UN resolution calling for Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine.

It wasn’t long before the German embassy hit back, claiming they were “kinda experts on Nazism”.

The message read: "What Russia is doing in Ukraine is slaughtering innocent children, women and men for its own gain. It's definitely not 'fighting Nazism'. Shame on anyone who's falling for his. (Sadly, we're kinda experts on Nazism)."

The comments have come in for criticism online, but some did praise the embassy for “shutting down” the Russian message.

“Someone give @GermanEmbassySA's social media manager a raise,” one social media user wrote.

“Just checked and yes, the German Embassy really did say this,” another said, adding a muscle emoji.

However, some were more critical.

One user wrote: “I really think “we committed genocide against the Jewish people” should be outside the remit of sassy clapbacks.”

It comes after Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine last month, saying the “goal is to protect people who have been abused by the genocide of the Kyiv regime for eight years.”

“We will strive for the demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians,” he added.

The “de-nazification” claim has been criticised by the West ever since Putin made the claim at the start of the conflict – especially after social media users reacting to Russian artillery striking near the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv last week.

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