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Ukraine marks 79th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre

Ukraine on Tuesday marked the 79th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre, one of the most infamous mass slaughters of World War II.

Babi Yar, a ravine in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, is where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed within 48 hours in 1941 when the city was under Nazi occupation. The killing was carried out by SS troops along with local collaborators.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the Babi Yar monument on Tuesday and took part in a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the tragedy.

Children look at personal items found on the site of the Babi Yar tragedy at a menorah monument close to a Babi Yar ravine where tens of thousands of Jews were killed during WWII, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. Ukraine marked the 79th anniversary of the 1941 Babi Yar massacre. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

“Seventy-nine years ago, a black page was inscribed in the common past of the Ukrainian and Jewish people. We bow our heads before all the victims of Babi Yar. And we have no right to forget these terrible crimes,” Zelenskiy said in a statement.

After the ceremony, Ukraine's Minister of Culture Olexandr Tkachenko and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation between the Ukrainian government and the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.

“The parties to the memorandum called for joint efforts of Ukrainian society, the state, the international community and organizations researching and studying the Holocaust and the tragedy of Babi Yar, aimed at preserving and restoring historical memory, so that it becomes a constant reminder of the price people pay for peace,” Zelenksiy's office said.

A woman lays flowers at a menorah monument close to a Babi Yar ravine where tens of thousands of Jews were killed during WWII, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. Photos of victims are seen around the monument. Ukraine marked the 79th anniversary of the 1941 Babi Yar massacre. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)