(JTA) – An unidentified person wearing a ski mask hurled a smoke grenade into a Ukraine bookstore during a lecture about the Holocaust.
At least 45 people were attending a talk titled “A terrible story: The Holocaust. Memory. Pain. Lessons” at the E bookstore on Monday evening in Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, when the incident occurred. Witnesses described the perpetrator as a teenager, though they did not see his face. The incident ended without injury.
The event was a lecture by the Holocaust historian Elena Andronatiy, according to the Russian-Jewish magazine L’Chaim. The Lviv branch of the Jewish student organization Hillel helped organize the event, the weekly reported.
The room was aired out until the smoke cleared and the lecture was resumed, according to the report.
The incident occurred days after the publication of a report in Israel by its Ministry for Diaspora affairs saying that the number of recorded anti-Semitic attacks recorded in Ukraine in 2017 surpassed the tally of all such incidents in the entire former Soviet Union. More than 130 incidents were recorded in Ukraine last year, the ministry told JTA.
At least one researcher on anti-Semitism in Ukraine, Vyacheslav Likhachev, who is affiliated with the Vaad Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine, dismissed the report as unprofessional and false.
The director of Ukraine’s Institute of National Remembrance, Vladimir Vyatrovich, told Radio Liberty last week, “It is a pity, but the results of the influence of [Russian] propaganda are felt even by documents of certain Israeli institutions.”
Russia and Ukraine have a territorial dispute over Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.