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Swastika Vandals Deface Odessa Holocaust Monument

Nazi symbols were drawn on a Holocaust monument in Odessa, Ukraine.

The symbols — swastikas and the SS Wolfsangel sign — were painted Tuesday on the memorial site, police sources from the southern Ukrainian city told the Unian news agency. There are no suspects.

Swastikas were also painted on a wall surrounding a Jewish cemetery reading “death to the Jews” and “Right Sector” — an ultranationalist movement that participated in the revolution that in February ended with the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych. The uprising had erupted over Yanukovych’s perceived pro-Russian policies.

The vandalism comes amid mutual allegations of anti-Semitism between Ukrainian and Russian officials with Russia’s incursion and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula last month.

Israel, which has good relations with both countries, had remained largely silent on the issue. But in a break from that public neutrality, its honorary consul in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Osias Wurman, told the Voice of Russia that one of the reasons for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s animosity toward the new Ukrainian leadership was “anti-Semitic movements and manifestations.”

“Undoubtedly, the pro-Jewish atmosphere currently is much more credible in Russia than in Ukraine,” Wurman added in the interview, which was published online Monday. “Many of those ‘revolutionaries’ belong to the ultranationalist, racist and far-right Svoboda party.”

Also Tuesday, prosecutors dropped their investigation into actions involving Oleg Bolychev, a legislator from the ruling United Russia party at the regional parliament in Kaliningrad, who said in parliament that the Jews had destroyed Russia, the news site rugrad.eu reported. Some said his words amounted to incitement to hate, spurring the probe.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, two lawmakers from the regional council of St. Petersburg, Boris Vishnevsky and Alexander Kobrin, demanded that the state television station Russia 24 fire anchorwoman Evelina Zakamskaya for saying the Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves.

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