Ukraine says Nazi display at mall part of Russian 'information warfare'

"We regard this outrageous incident with the hacker attack in the Gorodok Gallery shopping mall as part of a hybrid information warfare, which Ukraine has faced since 2014."

February 20, 2019 14:42
1 minute read.
A man wearing a Swastika [Illustrative]

A man wearing a Swastika [Illustrative]. (photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)


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Days after an LED staircase in Ukraine was shown displaying a Nazi Swastika, the government in Kiev said that the display was part of a Russian "hybrid information warfare" campaign which the country has been facing since 2014.

Images and footage from inside the Horodok shopping mall on Kiev’s Bandera Avenue surfaced Monday on Facebook.

"The administration of the shopping center apologized for the incident and said that the computer system was broken [into] by a hacker attack," Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Hennadii Nadolenko wrote in a letter to The Jerusalem Post.

"We regard this outrageous incident with the hacker attack in the Gorodok Gallery shopping mall as part of a hybrid information warfare, which Ukraine has faced since 2014 and in which the Russian Federation uses all possible measures of propaganda," he wrote.

The footage shows shoppers climbing up and down the staircase, whose middle-section stairs feature a large swastika on a red banner, reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s flag. The street where the shopping mall is located is named after Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who briefly collaborated with Nazi Germany in its fight against Russia.

Nadolenko said that the Ukrainian police are "actively looking for people involved in this attack," which he called "indignant."

"After all," he wrote that the "use of Nazi symbols is prohibited by the Ukrainian legislation."

The ambassador said that Ukrainian security services have recently prevented Russian attacks on religious places, including synagogues. He noted that these attacks on Ukrainian compounds were designed "in order to inflame inter-religious strife."

"Ukraine under any circumstances will not tolerate antisemitism, xenophobia and discrimination based on race, national or ethnic background," he concluded.

Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a dispute over the status of the peninsula of Crimea since 2014, when Russia annexed the territory.

Cnann Lipshiz/JTA contributed to this report.

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