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Ukrainian government thanks Portugal for defining Holodomor, the famine that killed millions 90 years ago, as genocide

This message from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kiev, sent on Friday, was motivated by the event that marks Ukraine today: the 90th anniversary of the great famine caused by Stalin in the country, when he ordered that the country’s crops be confiscated in the name of collectivization of lands.

“Tomorrow (today), November 26, Ukraine remembers the victims of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 (…) In March 2017, the parliament of the Portuguese Republic approved resolution n.º 233/XIII [intitulada] ‘Recognition of the Holodomor — the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine’, which classifies the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as a genocide of the Ukrainian people”, said an official source of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a note sent to Lusa.

The message from the Government of Kiev even names some Portuguese municipalities that joined the initiative, such as “Grândola, Alcanena, Lagos, Águeda, Abrantes and Braga”, and that “recognized the fact of the genocide”.

“We greatly appreciate and respect the solidarity of the Portuguese parliament and people with the Ukrainians, who suffered one of the greatest national tragedies in their history between 1932 and 1933”, reads the text about the “Holodomor” – which, in Ukrainian, means precisely “extermination by hunger” and in that first winter alone it caused more than 3.5 million deaths in the country.

Today will be the first of four Saturdays in November when Ukraine will mark, with a Remembrance Day, the beginning of the Holodomor, also known as “The Great Famine” or “The Famine-Terror” of the era of Soviet rule.

According to the Holodomor Museum, located in Kiev, so far, only 16 states, in addition to Ukraine, have officially recognized the great famine as a genocide: Australia, Ecuador, Estonia, Canada, Colombia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico , Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, United States and the Vatican. Some other countries, such as Argentina, Chile and Spain, condemned it as “an act of extermination”.

The 17 have now been joined by two more, Romania and Ireland, whose parliaments this week approved resolutions to that effect. They should be followed by at least one more, Germany, which has already announced for next Wednesday that the issue will be debated and voted on in the lower house of its parliament (Bundestag).

Scholarly opinion remains divided on whether the great famine of 1932-1933 constitutes “genocide”, the main question being whether Stalin intended to kill Ukrainians to quash an independence movement against the Soviet Union, or whether the famine was mainly the result of the combination of official incompetence and natural conditions.

In the note sent to Lusa, Ukraine’s MNE makes yet another thank you to the country, regarding the help it has been given since Russia invaded it, on February 24 of this year, causing a still undetermined number of deaths and injuries and millions of internally displaced persons and refugees in other European countries.

“We are grateful to Portugal for its solidarity with the Ukrainian people in defending its independence and territorial integrity and for sharing the legitimate aspirations of the Ukrainian people to be part of a united Europe, within the scope of the values ​​and principles of the defense of democracy, peace and prosperity of peoples”, concludes the text.

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