KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The Israeli ambassador to Ukraine has sharply criticized local legislators’ move to honor a Ukrainian nationalist leader.
Ambassador Joel Lion said on Facebook that he was “shocked’ to see the regional legislature in Lviv in western Ukraine declare 2019 “the year of Stepan Bandera” to mark the 110th anniversary of his birth.
Bandera was a leader of Ukraine’s nationalist movement, which included an insurgent army that for one period sided with the Nazis during World War II. Jewish groups have linked Bandera’s followers to the mass murders of Jews.
Lion said “I can’t understand how the glorification of those directly involved in horrible anti-Semitic crimes helps fight anti-Semitism and xenophobia.” The ambassador that “Ukraine shouldn’t forget those crimes committed against Ukrainian Jews and in no way celebrate them through honoring their perpetrators.”