‘De-Nazifying’ Russian Troops Desecrate a Second Holocaust Memorial

According to Ukraine’s ministry of defense, Russians have hit Drobytsky Yar, a memorial dedicated to 15,000 Jews who were shot or forced into mass graves by Nazis during World War II. 

“The Nazis have returned. Exactly 80 years later,” the ministry posted on Twitter on Saturday with a photograph of the memorial’s damaged menorah. NBC News could not independently verify the photo.

Earlier this month, Zelenskyy—who is Jewish and said three of his family members died in World War II—invoked the barbarism of the Holocaust when Russian forces hit a television tower next to Babi Yar, a memorial site where Nazis massacred an estimated 33,000 Jews in 1941.

At the end of the post by the official Twitter account of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Naftali Bennett, the Prime Minister of Israel is tagged.

The Prime Minister of Israel hasn’t publicly responded so far.

The Drobitsky Yar is one of the numerous massacre sites of the Second World War.

The Drobitsky Memorial was built in remembrance of approximately 16,000 people, mainly Jews, who were killed there in December 1941 by Nazi troops invading the Soviet Union.

Children were thrown into pits alive, to save bullets, in the expectation that they would quickly freeze to death since the temperature was at -15°C.

Instated in 2002, the Drobitsky Memorial represents a Menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum, a symbol of the Jewish people and Judaism.

A Menorah is also depicted on the national emblem of the modern State of Israel.

Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, when Vladimir Putin declared war against the country, he said that this “operation” aims to “denazify” Ukraine.

Putin’s framing of the war was based on allegations about nazist groups in Ukraine that he aimed to eliminate.

One month later, Putin’s troops have been continuously shelling residential areas, targeting hospitals, and killing innocent civilians, including children.

More than 10 million Ukrainian people have been displaced, according to the UN, in what amounts to a huge humanitarian catastrophe.

More than 3.7 million people have left their homes and are seeking shelter outside of their country, as refugees in other countries including Poland and Romania.

Finally, the UN reported that more than 1,000 innocent civilians, including children, have lost their lives so far in this war.

Putin will remain untroubled by his hypocrisy, of course. But it will continue to galvanize the rest of the world’s population, the vast majority of whom are still decent human beings. And the glimmer of humanity that shines through Russia’s dark brutality is one big reason why, in the end, Putin can’t—and won’t—win.

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