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Babyn Yar bombed by Russia, 80 years after Nazi Massacre of Ukrainian Jews

02.03.2022
Halya Coynash

Babyn Yar and the TV tower which Russia bombed on 1 March 2022 Photo Margarita Yakovleva

In its bombing of civilian targets in Kyiv and Kharkiv, Russia has also hit Babyn Yar, the site of one of the worst Nazi massacres of the Holocaust.  As well as 33 thousand Ukrainian Jewish men, women and children, the Nazi occupiers murdered Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, Ukrainian nationalists and all those whose right to exist they denied.  80 years later, Russia is denying Ukraine’s right to exist as a free and independent country, while trying to claim that its invasion and the untold suffering it is inflicting is in the name of ‘denazification’.

It is likely that the Russian invaders were targeting the nearby television tower, however at least one of two missiles hit the Babyn Yar Memorial Complex and killed five people.  Margarita Yakovleva was allowed to try to assess the damage caused, and writes that there are clear traces of the damage caused by the shrapnel from the missile near Oranzhereina St., with several trees also toppled . 

Yulia Smilianska, Director of the Judaica Institute in Kyiv, anticipated that the Russian media could try to claim that Ukrainians had destroyed the Memorial at Babyn Yar, as part of Russia’s false narrative about anti-Semitism in Ukraine.

That will be yet another monstrous lie of Russian propaganda and the latest spike in the information war! “

She noted that Russian media had already tried to blame Ukrainians for Russia’s bombing of Kharkiv in the morning of 1 March 2022, and had claimed that a Ukrainian armed vehicle had crushed a car with the driver in it and that “Ukrainian nationalists” were bombing orphanages.

They show all of their monstrous crimes on television, claiming that they were carried out by Ukrainian nationalists.

People, help to stop their endless lying, Or at least be aware that they are now killing us while brazenly and foully lying to you!”

As reported, Russia is currently blocking independent media, Facebook and Twitter, in order to prevent Russians from learning the truth about its invasion of Ukraine and is using threats of long terms of imprisonment to frighten people into silence.  With a substantial percentage of the Russian population only gaining ‘information’ from state-controlled television, it is very likely that a lot of Russians will be deceived.  The Russian authorities even ordered teachers to hold a lesson, in which they were to parrot Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s surreal claims about Russia’s carnage and destruction in Ukraine being “a peacekeeping operation” and “self-defence” (details here).

Russia has, in fact, been trying since early 2014 to justify its aggression against  Ukraine by claiming that ‘fascist and anti-Semitic hordes’ seized control after Euromaidan.  Putin ran up against huge problems from the outset with Ukraine’s most prominent Jewish religious and secular figures publicly rejecting such lies. Presumably for want of any other excuse, the Kremlin has continued pushing this narrative, despite the lack of any substance and the absurdity of accusing Ukraine’s Jewish President of being ‘a neo-Nazi’.  Among those who have spoken out now against the evident lies is Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine.

See: Chief Rabbi of Ukraine demolishes Putin’s excuse for Russia’s invasion

While it may have been due to Moscow’s barbaric disregard for human life and sites of remembrance that Babyn Yar came under fire, this is not at all guaranteed.  Over the past two years, Jewish and other Ukrainian cultural, religious and civic leaders have been sounding the alarm over what was seen as a dangerously Russian, oligarch-funded, plan for a Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Complex, one that is now, almost certain, dead.

See: How can Ukraine’s leaders hand Babyn Yar into private Russian hands?

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