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Zelensky highlights death of concentration camp survivor in Russian strike

AP/Pavel Dorogoy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday lamented the death of a Holocaust survivor in the city of Kharkiv, saying the killing contradicted the false “denazification” pretext Russia used to invade his country.

Boris Romantschenko, 96, died after Russians shelled his apartment building in the war-torn city of Kharkiv, Ukrainian officials announced on Monday.

“Please think about how many things he has come through,” Zelensky said in a video shared by Reuters.

The Ukrainian president, who is Jewish, listed the concentration camps Romantschenko survived during World War II.

“He survived Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau, Peenemunde, and Bergen-Belsen, the conveyors of death created by Hitlerites,” Zelensky said. “But he was killed by a Russian strike, which hit an ordinary Kharkiv multistory building.”

Before he invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was conducting a “special military operation” to “denazify” and rescue Ukraine from corrupt government officials.

The argument, backed by state media in Russia, was intended to ensure public support in Russia for the war by harkening back to the Soviet resistance to Germany’s invasion. Putin has cracked down on independent and outside media in his country during the war.

Ukraine’s government does not consist of Nazis. The Ukrainian government, military and citizens have also fought back fiercely at the Russian advances, stalling the invasion and surprising soldiers who thought they would be seen as rescuers.

During the invasion, Russian forces also bombed Babyn Yar, a Holocaust memorial site.

Romantschenko was involved with helping to tell the history of concentration camps, according to the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation.

“With each day of this war, it becomes more obvious what denazification means to them,” Zelensky said in the Reuters video of the Russian military. 

Tags Boris Romantschenko Denazification Holocaust Kharkiv Russia-Ukraine Russian invasion of Ukraine Ukraine Vladimir Putin World War II World War II

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