Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday said the world is exclaiming “Never again” differently this year, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“This year we say ‘Never again’ differently. We hear ‘Never again’ differently. It sounds painful, cruel. Without an exclamation, but with a question mark. You say: never again? Tell Ukraine about it,” Zelensky said in remarks commemorating the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, which marks the anniversary of World War II ending in Europe.
“On February 24, the word ‘never’ was erased. Shot and bombed. By hundreds of missiles at 4 a.m., which woke up the entire Ukraine. We heard terrible explosions. We heard: again!” he added.
He said Russia has “amputated” the word “never” from the phrase, which is linked to the Holocaust, in February when its invasion of Ukraine began.
“The word ‘never’ was dropped from this slogan. Amputated during the so-called special operation. They stabbed a knife in the heart and, looking into the eyes, said: ‘It’s not us!’ Tortured with the words ‘not everything is so unambiguous.’ Killed ‘Never again’, saying: ‘We can repeat,’” he said.
Zelensky, who is Jewish, continued, saying that “decades after World War II, darkness returned to Ukraine. And it became black and white again. Again!”
“Evil has returned. Again! In a different uniform, under different slogans, but for the same purpose. A bloody reconstruction of Nazism was organized in Ukraine,” he added.
The concept of Nazism has been prevalent throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was necessary to stop the nazification of the country under Zelensky’s leadership.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov drew criticism in recent days when he said Adolf Hitler had “Jewish origins” and that “the wise Jewish people say that the most ardent antisemites are usually Jews.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the statement “unforgivable and scandalous and a horrible historical error.”
Zelensky, in his remarks on Sunday, called in Ukrainians to “pay homage to all those who defended their homeland and the world from Nazism” on this year’s Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation.
“We note the feat of the Ukrainian people and their contribution to the victory of the anti-Hitler coalition,” he added.
He also expressed hope of restoring peace in Ukraine.
“We will overcome everything. And we know this for sure, because our military and all our people are descendants of those who overcame Nazism. So they will win again. And there will be peace again. Finally again!” Zelensky said.
“We will overcome the winter, which began on February 24, lasts on May 8, but will definitely end, and the Ukrainian sun will melt it! And we will meet our dawn together with the whole country,” he added.
Zelensky: This year we say ‘Never again’ differently – The Hill