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Ukraine says Holocaust memorial smashed in Russian strikes near Kharkiv

Kyiv’s foreign minister lashes Russia for attack near Drobytsky Yar, where 15,000 Jews were killed during World War II, says he expects Israel to condemn Russia

The damaged Drobytsky Yar memorial near Kharkiv after reportedly being hit by Russian artillery fire, on March 26, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter)
The damaged Drobytsky Yar memorial near Kharkiv after reportedly being hit by Russian artillery fire, on March 26, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter)

A Holocaust memorial near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has been damaged in Russian bombardments, government officials said Saturday.

Images posted on social media showed a wrecked menorah monument at the Drobytsky Yar site.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba lashed Russia for the incident, and called for Israeli condemnation.

“Why Russia keeps attacking Holocaust memorials in Ukraine? I expect Israel to strongly condemn this barbarism,” Kuleba said.

Ukraine’s embassy in Israel and Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky said the damage was the result of Russian artillery shelling in the area. The United Jewish Community of Ukraine also reported on damage caused to the site, blaming Russian artillery.

Between 1941-1942, an estimated 15,000 Jews were killed and buried in mass graves at Drobytsky Yar, a ravine outside the eastern city of Kharkiv.

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center also noted the damage to Drobytsky Yar.

“Russia continues to attack not only the civilian population of Ukraine but also the places of remembrance,” it said on Twitter.

Ukraine’s embassy in Israel condemned the attack, writing that “another memorial of the Holocaust victims was destroyed by Russian barbarians in Ukraine.”

“No one should keep silent, when Russian war criminals [are] killing civilians, kids, pregnant women, shelling hospitals, memorials…. Russians are repeating the Nazis’ crimes, again and again and again!”

Another memorial of the Holocaust victims was destroyed by russian barbarians in Ukraine.This time – Drobytskyi Yar,…

Posted by Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Israel on Saturday, March 26, 2022

In the first days of the war, Ukraine reported that the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in Kyiv, located at the ravine in which over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by Nazi Germany and its local allies in September 1941, was hit by Russian airstrikes.

The bombing was later revealed to have hit buildings near the memorial, and there was no damage to the monument itself.

Both sides in the conflict have accused the other of Nazism, with Putin justifying his February 24 invasion by saying he wanted to “denazify” areas of Ukraine where he claimed there was a “genocide” being committed against Russian-speaking citizens. Western governments and Ukraine itself have dismissed the claims as a baseless justification for the invasion.

Earlier this month, the head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum Dani Dayan told The Times of Israel that Russia was trivializing the Holocaust with its claims about Nazism in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also been accused of weaponizing the Holocaust in his bid to draw support from the West.

Addressing the Knesset on Sunday, he pleaded with Israeli lawmakers for help in preventing a Russian “final solution” in Ukraine, repeatedly making comparisons to the Holocaust and attacking the Jewish state for not doing more in order to help.

His speech was met with mixed responses, with some in Israel accusing him of attempting to distort history and ignoring Ukraine’s complicity in the Nazi-led genocide.

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