27 Jan 2023, 17:34

Putin blasts 'neo-Nazis' in Ukraine on Holocaust Remembrance Day

  MOSCOW, Jan 27, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday

repeated a claim that neo-Nazis were committing crimes in Ukraine -- an
allegation Moscow has used to justify its military intervention -- as the
world marked Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Forgetting the lessons of history leads to the repetition of terrible
tragedies," Putin said.

"This is evidenced by the crimes against civilians, ethnic cleansing and
punitive actions organised by neo-Nazis in Ukraine. It is against that evil
that our soldiers are bravely fighting," he said in a statement.

Supporters of Putin's military operation allege Ukraine's treatment of
Russian speakers in the country is comparable with the actions of Nazi

One reason Putin gave for launching a "special military operation" in Ukraine
was to "de-Nazify" it.

The claims have been contested by the Ukrainian government and the country's
Jewish community.

The Soviet Union's victory over Hitler's army -- long a symbol of patriotic
pride for Russians -- has taken centre stage since the beginning of the
military intervention.

Putin said that "attempts to revise the contributions of our country to the
Great Victory (against Hitler) actually equates to justifying the crimes of
Nazism and opens the way for the revival of its deadly ideology."

Friday is the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau
death camp built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland -- a date that has become
Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Auschwitz museum did not invite Russian representatives to the ceremony
marking 78 years since the Soviet Red Army liberated the Nazi camp because of
the offensive in Ukraine.

"Russia will need an extremely long time and very deep self-examination after
this conflict in order to return to gatherings of the civilised world," Piotr
Sawicki, a spokesman for the museum at the site of the former camp, told AFP.

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