Zelensky says Russia wants to erase Ukraine
March 2, 2022 06:24 PM
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday accused Russia, which has launched an invasion of his country, of seeking to "erase" Ukrainians, their country and their history.
In a video address, the Ukrainian leader said a missile strike on a target at the site of a Holocaust massacre shows that "for many people in Russia our Kyiv is completely foreign."
The attack on Tuesday night damaged Kyiv's main television mast, which was built at Babi Yar, the site of World War II's biggest slaughter of Kyiv Jews and a place of memorial and pilgrimage.
Five people were killed in the strike itself, according to Ukrainian authorities, and for Zelensky the symbolism of the location underlined the Russian threat to Ukrainian identity.
"They know nothing about our capital. About our history. But they have an order to erase our history. Erase our country. Erase us all," he said of President Vladimir Putin's invasion force.
The Ukrainian president complained that under Soviet rule, authorities had built the TV tower and a sports complex on a "special part of Europe, a place of prayer, a place of remembrance".
"Outbuildings. They built a park there. To erase the true history of Babi Yar... This is beyond humanity," he declared.
"Such a missile strike shows that for many people in Russia our Kyiv is completely foreign. They know nothing about our capital. About our history," he said.
"But they have an order to erase our history. Erase our country. Erase us all."
And he urged Jewish people around the world to speak up.
"I am now addressing all the Jews of the world. Don't you see what is happening? That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world not remain silent right now," he said.
"Nazism is born in silence. So shout about killings of civilians. Shout about the murders of Ukrainians."