Zelensky visits Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial on 81st anniversary

Missiles and shells, ostensibly fired by Russian troops, struck the site of Babyn Yar during Moscow’s assault on Kyiv in early March.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes part in a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Babyn Yar (Babiy Yar), one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv Ukraine September 29, 2022. (photo credit: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes part in a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Babyn Yar (Babiy Yar), one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv Ukraine September 29, 2022.
(photo credit: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS)

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial on Thursday to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre – where the Nazis killed over 30,000 Jews and their collaborators in a span of two days in 1941.

Zelensky, who is himself Jewish, laid flowers at the monument to the victims of the tragedy and placed a commemorative lamp next to the Menorah in honor of the Jews, Roma and Ukrainians killed in the atrocity.

Zelensky also watched an installation about the massacre and heard from the leaders of the Babyn Yar National Historical and Memorial Reserve. They stressed the importance of preserving the memory of the tragedy at Babyn Yar.

"Any inhumane regimes pose a threat to all humanity. Criminals who cause such tragedies must be punished so that dictators and tyrants are reluctant to repeat something similar in the future," Zelensky declared.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes part in a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Babyn Yar (Babiy Yar), one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv Ukraine September 29, 2022. (credit: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes part in a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Babyn Yar (Babiy Yar), one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv Ukraine September 29, 2022. (credit: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS)

A warning against Putin

“We can never let the memories of those victims and all who were murdered in the Holocaust be dishonored, erased, or cynically misused for political purposes.”

Join statement by envoys for Holocaust issues

The envoys for Holocaust issues in the US, UK, Canada, Germany and five other European countries took the anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre as an opportunity to issue a joint statement condemning Russian military actions in Ukraine.

“We must never forget the heinous crime against humanity that occurred 81 years ago when nearly 34,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices at Babyn Yar. We can never let the memories of those victims and all who were murdered in the Holocaust be dishonored, erased, or cynically misused for political purposes,” the statement read.

“Thus it is particularly horrifying that Vladimir Putin is trying to justify his unprovoked war against Ukraine by distorting and misappropriating Holocaust history.  Saying that today’s democratic Ukraine needs to be “denazified” is an insult to all those who suffered under the Nazi regime in Ukraine and elsewhere… We call on Russia to immediately end its war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Missiles and shells, ostensibly fired by Russian troops, struck the site of Babyn Yar during Moscow’s assault on Kyiv in early March.

“Our countries are committed to holding perpetrators of war crimes and other atrocities accountable for their unconscionable actions,” the statement concluded.