Yad Vashem, Israel's main Holocaust memorial museum, bashed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia invaded Ukraine to "denazify" the country.
Hours after he ordered Russian troops to enter Ukraine last week, Putin stated in an address to the nation that "We will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians – including against citizens of the Russian Federation,” he said, condemning “far-right nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine.”
Dani Dayan, chairman of Yad Vashem World Holocaust Center in Jerusalem, tweeted Sunday that “The propagandist discourse accompanying the current hostilities is saturated with irresponsible statements and completely inaccurate comparisons with Nazi ideology and actions before and during the Holocaust.
“Yad Vashem condemns this trivialization and distortion of the historical facts of the Holocaust,” Dayan said.
Dayan also declared that “Yad Vashem deplores the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which will inevitably lead to dire consequences. We fear in particular for the wellbeing of innocent civilians and deplore any deliberate endangerment of their safety.”
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, addressed Putin's claim by asking: “How can I be a Nazi?”
The Yad Vashem condemnation comes five days after an announcement that Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich – believed to be a confidante of Putin – would be donating tens of millions of dollars to the Holocaust memorial museum.
According to the announcement the institution is entering “a new long-term strategic partnership aimed at strengthening Yad Vashem’s endeavors in the areas of Holocaust research and remembrance."