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Ukrainian Jewish Committee warns Kiev about glorification of WWII murderers of Jews

June 01, 14:41 UTC+3 KIEV

According to the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, the number of anti-Semitic incidents had doubled in Ukraine in 2017 year-on-year

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A monument in Babi Yar ravine where Nazi troops machine-gunned tens of thousands of Jews during WWII, in Kiev

A monument in Babi Yar ravine where Nazi troops machine-gunned tens of thousands of Jews during WWII, in Kiev

© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

KIEV, June 1. /TASS/. The veneration of WWII-era Nazi organizations and surging anti-Semitism in Ukraine will inevitably affect relations with Israel, Director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, told golos.ua edition on Friday.

Currently, both countries enjoy a good relationship, he said. However, Ukraine’s glorification of the murderers of the Jewish population will eventually come back to haunt Kiev in its relations with Israel. This will happen shortly, Dolinsky believes.

"This will depend on how Ukraine acts. For example, Poland, as you know, has banned entry for (the director of Ukraine’s Institute of National Memory) Vyatrovich as well as some of his allies and nationalists. Israel may also take similar measures," he explained.

Besides, Dolinsky believes ultra-right sentiment and extremist groups will be growing in Ukraine if the government remains idle.

"The whole world is witnessing mounting right-wing extremist sentiment and stepped-up activity by radical groups in social life. If the country takes no action to counter this, this will build up day by day. In addition, their numbers will increase, eventually making the fight against them more difficult," he stressed.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, the number of anti-Semitic incidents had doubled in Ukraine in 2017 year-on-year, which comes against the backdrop of the glorification of nationalist leaders, responsible for the murders and expulsion of Jews during World War II.

"For a second successive year, Ukraine has been seeing the biggest number of anti-Semitic incidents among the former Soviet Union republics," it said. It also pointed to "anti-Semitic propaganda in politics, vandalism targeting Jewish cemeteries, buildings and social centers, as well as monuments to Holocaust victims," it specified.

However, no effective action is being taken against any vandals, with these anti-Semitic incidents being qualified as just hooliganism and not as hate crimes, Israeli officials said.

In May 2015, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a law glorifying OUN (Ukrainian nationalists) and UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army), a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia, whose activity has been labelled as a struggle for the country’s independence. Statues to nationalist Nazi collaborators Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich are being built across Ukraine, memorial events and torchlight processions are being held in their memory, and streets are being named after them.

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