Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Jewish people across the globe to speak up after a Russian missile struck the site of a Holocaust massacre.
Footage shared online showed smoke billowing around the tower, while reports claiming Ukrainian television channels were cut off indicate the missiles hit their target.
In a statement released after the attack, BYHMC confirmed the remembrance site, where an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 people were shot by the Nazis in a two-day massacre, had also been struck.
BYHMC Advisory Board Chair Natan Sharanksky said it was 'symbolic' that the attack happened where so many people died, CNN reports, saying: 'Putin seeks to distort and manipulate the Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic country is utterly abhorrent.'
The BYHMC did not describe whether there was damage caused by the blast.
Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, encouraged a response from Jewish people after the strike took place, arguing the attack 'proves that for many people in Russia our Kyiv is absolutely foreign.'
Board Chair @NatanSharansky— BABYN YAR Holocaust Memorial Center (@babynyarhmc) March 1, 2022
“Putin seeks to distort and manipulate the Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic country is utterly abhorrent. It is symbolic that he starts attacking Kyiv by bombing the site of the Babyn Yar, the biggest of Nazi massacre” pic.twitter.com/A1gm3Gw4Z1
As cited by YNetNews, he said: 'They don't know a thing about Kyiv, about our history. But they all have orders to erase our history, erase our country, erase us all. We all died again by Babi Yar. Although the world has promised again and again that it will never happen again.
'Don't you see what is happening? That's why it is very important now that you, millions of Jews around the world, do not stay silent. Because Nazism is born in silence. Scream about murdering of civilians, scream about murdering of Ukrainians', he continued.
Organisations across the globe have condemned the move, with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Israel, saying the BYHMC had 'irreplaceable value for research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust' and argued that such 'sacred sites' must be 'protected' rather than 'being subjected to blatant violence.'
The loss of life in Ukraine today is our primary concern. We are also outraged at the damage inflicted on the Babyn Yar memorial by Russia’s attack today. #BabynYar was the site of one of the largest mass shootings during the Holocaust. It is sacred ground. Learn more.— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) March 1, 2022
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum said it was outraged at 'the damage inflicted on the Babyn Yar memorial by Russia’s attack', according to The New York Times, while British charity The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said it was 'horrified' to learn of the strike.
Zelenskyy had previously unveiled a modern art installation at the site of the massacre, which took place in late September 1941.
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