Jewish community leaders in southern Ukraine asked Thursday for control over the land where a mass grave believed to contain thousands of Holocaust victims was found.
The community asked local authorities to cede the land so the site could be commemorated and respected properly, said Avraam Volf, the leading rabbi for Odessa and southern Ukraine.
"People have been walking on this territory, cars passing it, cattle driven," Volf said in a statement. "We must do everything possible to prevent such blasphemy."
The mass grave was discovered by chance last month by workers digging to lay gas pipelines in the village of Gvozdavka-1, northwest of Odessa, regional Jewish leaders said earlier this week.