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Kansas City-area historian condemns Russia's comparison of Ukraine to Nazi Germany

Russian FM compares Ukraine to Nazi Germany
Posted at 10:09 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 23:24:19-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As its invasion of Ukraine continues, Russia remains steadfast on its reasoning of why the invasion began in the first place.

Russia's top diplomat compared Ukraine to Nazi Germany at a United Nations Human Rights meeting on Tuesday.

"All these massive and systematic attacks on rights and freedoms, and the consistent planting of neo-Nazism, are being carried out with the open connivance of the United States, Canada and the European Union countries," Sergey Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister said on Tuesday. "Which arrogantly declare themselves "the standard-bearer of democracy."

It's a point that Russian president Vladimir Putin made in his speech declaring war last week, calling for the de-Nazification of Ukraine.

"It does not resemble that of Nazi Germany at all, the president is Jewish," Dr. Shelly Cline, a historian at the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education said. "The government is a democratic, legitimate government."

Cline adds the memory of World War II, and the Holocaust is powerful in Europe, and so by tapping into it Putin is hoping to legitimize his own position.

"And kind of distorting the memory of that conflict in order to justify his aims in Europe," Cline said.

But the international community sees right through it.

The UN General Assembly is considering a resolution to condemning the Russian invasion on Ukraine.

"Russia’s war is one of aggression and it's based on lies," Annalena Baerbock, Germany's Foreign Minister, told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

It's costing lives as well.

Five people died Tuesday when Russian forces bombed a broadcast tower in Kyiv, damaging Babi Yar also known as Babyn Yar, a prominent Holocaust memorial in the process.

Over the course of two days in late Sept. 1941, a special SS squad murdered more than 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar.

The site has since become a symbol of Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.

In a tweet the Ukraine's president warned: "To the world: what is the point of saying 'never again' for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar? At least 5 killed. History repeating."

"I think the biggest thing that an exhibit like this Auschwitz exhibit can remind us of, is the is the importance of really knowing our history, getting the history accurate," Cline said. "So that when it comes, when we see people trying to distort that for their own agendas, whether that be abroad, like Putin's doing, whether it be in our own country, that we're vigilant against that."

This as a new chapter in world history is being written.

Associated Press contributed to this story.