Ukraine remembers Stalin-era famine as war in Russia rages on

KYIV, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Ukraine on Saturday accused the Kremlin of reviving Josef Stalin’s “genocidal” tactics as Kyiv commemorated a Soviet-era famine that killed millions of Ukrainians during the winter of 1932-1933.

‘Holodomor’ Remembrance Day comes as Ukraine struggles to repel invading Russian forces and deal with widespread breakdowns caused by airstrikes which Kyiv says are aimed at breaking the will to fight in the country. audience.

“Before they wanted to destroy us with hunger, now – with darkness and cold,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram. “We cannot be broken.”

The Holodomor, which roughly translates to “starvation to death”, has occupied an increasingly central place in Ukraine’s collective memory since the 2014 Maidan revolution toppled a Russian-backed president and strengthened the national consciousness.

In November 1932, Soviet leader Stalin sent the police to seize all grain and livestock from the newly collectivized Ukrainian farms, including the seeds needed to plant the next crop.

Millions of Ukrainian peasants starved to death in the following months in what Yale University historian Timothy Snyder calls “clearly premeditated mass murder”.

“The Russians will pay for all the victims of the Holodomor and answer for the crimes of today,” wrote Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential administration, on Telegram.

Russia has targeted critical infrastructure across Ukraine in recent weeks with waves of airstrikes that have caused widespread power outages and killed civilians.

Millions of Ukrainians were still without power after new strikes this week, Zelensky said late Friday.

“Winter is already tough, and if everything continues the same way, then it will be very similar to what we read in the history books,” Artem Antonenko, a 23-year-old marketer, told Reuters. in the center of Kyiv.

The Kremlin has denied that its attacks, which have only galvanized the Ukrainian public’s anger, were targeting civilians, but said on Thursday that Kyiv could “end the suffering” by meeting Russia’s demands to resolve the war.

In a statement on Saturday, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry accused Moscow of reviving 1930s tactics.

“On the 90th anniversary of the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine, Russia’s war of genocidal aggression pursues the same goal as during the 1932-33 genocide: the elimination of the Ukrainian nation and its statehood,” he said.

Moscow denies the deaths were caused by a deliberate genocidal policy and says Russians and other ethnic groups also suffered from starvation.

Ukrainians usually mark Remembrance Day, which was established after the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and falls on the fourth Saturday in November, by placing candles in their windows.

Pope Francis
this week compared Russia’s war in Ukraine to what he called the “terrible genocide” of the Stalinist era and said Ukrainians are now suffering the “martyrdom of aggression”.


Kyiv’s foreign ministry also condemned what it said are Russia’s ongoing attempts to weaponize food by undermining a UN-brokered deal to unblock Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed a similar sentiment on Saturday when addressing a International Food Security Summit in Kyiv via video link alongside several other European leaders.

“Today, Russia is using hunger as a weapon of war against Ukraine, and to create division and more instability in the rest of the world,” he said.

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey said on Friday that Moscow was sending its representatives to Istanbul for more ship inspections per day than planned under the Black Sea grain deal, dismissing a Ukrainian accusation that Russia is slowing down the process.

Reporting by Dan Peleschuk Additional reporting by Yurii Kovalenko in Kyiv and Alan Charlish in Warsaw Editing by Tom Balmforth and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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