(JTA) – Ukraine’s parliament for the first time commemorated the Holocaust ahead of the international date in memory of the victims. The Verkohvna Rada in Kyiv held a memorial ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 16, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27.
“The Holocaust was a disaster not only for the Jewish people but for the whole world and specifically the Ukrainian people,” lawmaker Daniel Gatmanzov said in his address.
Memorial candles were lit and a minute’s silence was observed. Among those on hand was Israel’s ambassador, Joel Lion, who in recent years has protested the glorification of Nazi collaborators in Ukraine, including by some officials.
Last week, Gennady Nadolenko, the head of Ukraine’s diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv, issued the first public reaction to Lion’s protests. The subject is related to “internal issues of Ukrainian politics” and Israel’s protests about it are “counterproductive,” Nadolenko told Israeli diplomats, according to the new site Jewish.ru.