- President Zelenskyy compared Russian war tactics to the Soviet-era genocide, which left millions dead.
- Russia has blocked key Ukrainian ports, preventing the global export of grains.
- Their actions have “put the world on the brink of starvation,” Zelenskyy said Saturday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared the food crisis in Ukraine from the Russian war to the 1930s Stalin-era genocide.
Zelenskyy drew the comparison at the Ukrainian International Summit on Food Security on Saturday, accusing Russia of causing another global crisis.
“Every year, on the last Saturday in November, we honor the memory of millions of people. Millions of tortured and murdered Ukrainians. Women, men, elderly people. Millions of children. Millions of victims of famine,” Zelenskyy said in his address. “Today is the 90th anniversary of the genocide committed against us by the totalitarian Stalinist regime.”
Millions of Ukrainians died from the famine from 1932 to 1933 after Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin ordered the seizure of grains and livestock from Ukrainian farms, according to CNBC. The remembrance on Saturday honors the victims of “Holodomor” – or “death by hunger,” according to the outlet.
On Saturday, Zelenskyy accused Russia of using the same tactics in its war of aggression against Ukraine. Russian air strikes have caused widespread power outages, and the United Nations warned in June that the war would lead to an “unprecedented wave” of global hunger.
“We see what is happening today in the world, what is happening in Ukraine. They want to destroy us again with bombs, bullets, cold, and again with hunger,” Zelenskyy said. “On February 24, Russia started a full-scale war against our society, the people of Ukraine, against our state. The occupation and the blockade left thousands of people without food and water from the very beginning.”
Ukraine is typically an exporter of grains, produce, and dairy, but “this year, unfortunately, is different,” Zelenskyy said.
“Russian troops surrounded Ukrainian ports. They blocked the export of our food. They put the world on the brink of starvation. They provoked a food crisis,” the Ukrainian president said.
With the help of the UN, Russia and Ukraine came to an agreement to open a corridor to export grains over the summer, but Russia resumed its blockade in October, accusing Ukraine of a drone attack, according to The Associated Press. Ukraine has denied the claims.
“We must prevent the further spread of this crisis and this global challenge,” Zelenskyy said Saturday. “Ukraine will fulfill its export obligations regarding the supply of grain and other foodstuffs to the global market. Ukraine is a fighter for life, its own and that of other peoples. Life without slavery and hunger.”