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March 1, 2022 2:24 pm
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Russian Strike on Kyiv TV Tower Kills Five, Hits Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Site

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

A blast is seen in the TV tower, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Ukrainian and Israeli officials denounced a Russian missile strike on Kyiv’s television tower Tuesday that killed at least five people and struck the site of the Babi Yar massacre, where over 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis.

“We condemn the attack on the Jewish grave near the memorial site marking the Holocaust of the Jews of Kiev and the genocide of the Jewish people in Babi Yar,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. “We call for the sanctity of the site to be preserved and respected.”

Babi Yar, also known as Babyn Yar, is the Ukrainian ravine where on Yom Kippur eve in September 1941, more than 33,000 Jews were shot dead during just two days by the Nazis.

Lapid ordered Israel’s Ambassador to Kyiv, Michael Brodsky, to stay in contact with the Holocaust memorial site’s management and to offer Israel’s assistance in repairing the damage.

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“We continue to monitor the events and express our sorrow at the impact on human life,” Lapid added in a statement that did not mention Russia, aligning with attempts by Israeli officials to support Ukraine without jeopardizing interests in Moscow.

Ukraine’s Jewish president Volodymyr Zelensky, who lost family members in the Nazi Holocaust, lamented global inaction in the face of the intensifying Russian assault.

“To the world: what is the point of saying ‘never again’ for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babi Yar? At least 5 killed. History repeating,” Zelensky tweeted.

Kyiv and Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv faced escalating bombardment on Tuesday, while a miles-long column of Russian forces arrayed near the capital.

“Once again, these barbarians are murdering the victims of Holocaust,” said Andriy Yermik, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff.

Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for manipulating the Holocaust to justify an “illegal invasion” of Ukraine.

“It is symbolic that he [Putin] starts attacking Kiev by bombing the site of the Babi Yar, the biggest of Nazi massacres,” Sharansky exclaimed. “We, at the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, built on Europe’s largest mass grave of the Holocaust, work to preserve historical memory following decades of Soviet suppression of historical truth, so that the evils of the past can never be repeated.”

“We must not allow the truth to — once again — become the victim of war,” he urged.

Before the attack, the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center said in a separate statement that it “strongly condemns” Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and labelled its invasion as a “crime against humanity.”

“People are hiding in basements and bomb shelters. Hundreds of thousands are forced to leave their homes and move to safer places and abroad. All of it is happening because Putin decided to ‘denazify’ Ukraine and its people,” the statement read, referring to Russian propaganda that has invoked the Nazi era in justifying its war against Ukraine.

“We will thoroughly collect and record evidence of crimes against humanity by the Russian aggressors,” the center said, pledging to submit evidence of Russian war crimes to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

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