The Nazis began mass executions on the northwest outskirts of the Ukrainian capital shortly after entering the city in September 1941. "The death conveyor" operated until Kiev was liberated in November 1943 and claimed the lives of 100,000 people.
Addressing an international forum, Let My People Live, in Kiev on the 65th anniversary of the start of the tragedy, President Viktor Yushchenko said, "The tragedy of the Holocaust and Babi Yar is a deep wound for every nation."
"Babi Yar must become a vaccine capable of saving the world from aggressive, bloody xenophobia," he said.
The forum gathered about 800 guests from dozens of countries, including the presidents of Israel, Croatia and Montenegro.
The main services, including a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial to the victims of Nazism in Babi Yar, are scheduled for Wednesday.