Speaking to an Italian TV channel over the weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov drew a comparison between Vladimir Zelensky and Adolf Hitler, warning of Nazi elements in Ukraine. His comments caused outrage in the western media.

Apparently, the Ukrainian authorities have long been in the process of removing everything Russian in the country. Now the Israeli newspaper is reporting hairnet, a Ukrainian government agency tasked with preserving national history has called for several streets in Kyiv to be renamed after “Nazi collaborators” as part of “de-Russification” efforts.

The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory on Saturday published a list of names of people who allegedly made “significant contributions to Ukrainian or world culture”.

While the institute recommends naming streets after Kyiv-born Golda Meir, who was Israel’s prime minister from 1969 to 1974, it also lists historical figures such as Andrei Melnyk and Yevgen Onatskiy, who apparently
member of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was. Such renamings are necessary “to dispel ideological clichés and myths of the Russian imperial legacy,” according to the institute’s website.

The Israeli daily newspaperhairnetrecently commented that the decision to pay tribute to figures such as Melnyk and Onatsky is deeply troubling for historians and Jewish leaders. Especially when “great efforts” are currently being made to counter “Russian propaganda” that portrays the Ukrainian government as Nazis and anti-Semites.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was founded in 1929 and led the struggle for Ukraine’s independence. Among other things, through its paramilitary wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). This supported the Nazi occupying forces in committing atrocities against Jewish communities in the country during World War II.

“In light of the war in Ukraine, we understand the desire of the Ukrainian state, and in particular the Kyiv Municipality, to change street names associated with pro-Russian figures,” said the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

“At the same time, however, the Ukrainian authorities must be aware of history and careful not to worship any individuals who supported or collaborated with the Nazis’ murderous campaign against the Jews – including Andriy Melnyk, one of two Ukrainian nationalist leaders who until end of the war supported Hitler and his accomplices during the Holocaust.”

Since the Ukraine war, Israeli officials have sought to ward off comparisons of the conflict in Ukraine with the Holocaust and the Nazi era. On Monday, Israel’s foreign ministry summoned Russian ambassador Anatoly Viktorov, while Israel’s foreign minister Jair Lapid criticized his Russian counterpart, Lavrov, for comparing him to Hitler. In a speech to the Knesset in mid-March, Zelensky previously linked the Russian attack on his country with Hitler’s “final solution.” This had also provoked harsh criticism in Israel.

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