Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, has called on the world to recognize Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide.
The minister expressed this opinion in his op-ed for Der Spiegel, Ukrinform reports with reference to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
In particular, Kuleba underscores that the Russian leadership, officials, and public figures have long been laying the ideological basis for genocide. Among other things, he draws attention to last year’s article by Russian president Vladimir Putin “On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians” in which the leader of the aggressor country once again stated that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people”, and “modern Ukraine is a complete product of the Soviet era”, while “true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia”.
The minister emphasizes that the Russian leader has never hidden his intentions, thinking that the existence of Ukraine as a state is a mistake that needs to be corrected, and Ukrainians are, in fact, Russians, so they will either agree to be “one people” with the Russians or be subject to destruction
Also, Kuleba notes, direct public incitement to genocide is also contained in a number of articles of the Russian state media outlets, posts of high-ranking Russian officials on social networks, or in their statements on TV. Thus, on February 26, Ria Novosti Russian state news agency published an article saying that Ukraine would cease to exist as a result of Russia’s “military special operation”, and its author claimed that Putin had assumed “historical responsibility” by deciding “not to entrust ultimate solution for the Ukrainian issue to future generations.”
“During the following month, Russian military units stationed near Kyiv, particularly in Buch, committed terrible atrocities. On April 5, Deputy Head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitri Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel: “…the essence of Ukrainianness, fueled by anti-Russian poison and lies about its identity, is a big fake…” In his frankly genocidal statement, Medvedev claims that Ukrainian identity does not exist and has never existed,” Kuleba noted.
In his opinion, all these articles, posts on social networks, and statements that appeared during the fighting in Ukraine incited Russian soldiers to commit crimes against Ukrainians only because they belong to the Ukrainian national group.
He points out that this is evidenced by the mass murders in the captured territories, in particular in Buch and other towns, where the executioners – the Russian military – conducted house searches according to FSB’s lists to find and execute the most active local Ukrainian figures, activists, volunteers, former military personnel, their relatives and friends. Putin subsequently responded to compelling evidence of mass genocidal atrocities committed by his army by rewarding the units involved in those massacres, being a direct indication that the crimes were not isolated incidents, Kuleba emphasizes.
The minister also draws attention to the fact that since the invasion, Russia, according to its own official statements, has taken at least 1.9 million people from Ukraine, including more than 307,000 children, by force or with threats of force and is now changings the legislation to speed up the adoption of children from Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine and ensure their further upbringing as members of the Russian national group, losing the Ukrainian identity. “These are clear acts of genocide in accordance with Article II(e) of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” the foreign minister stresses.
Kuleba adds that over the centuries, Russian elites have cultivated notions of Russian superiority and exceptionalism, as well as chauvinism, false messianism, and toxic masculinity, which has led to a consistent policy of hatred towards other groups. Thus, inside the country, the regime persecutes Jehovah’s Witnesses, the LGBT community, and political dissidents and opposition figures. Outside the country, this overall policy of hatred and chauvinism has acquired a genocidal character with regard to Ukrainians as a national group.
“This led to a real encouragement to exterminate members of the Ukrainian national group in the course of armed aggression. Ukrainians are offered a choice: to give up their Ukrainian identity or to be annihilated,” the minister says.
Summing up, he concludes that the actions of the Russian Federation and its officials, armed forces, and mass media against Ukrainians are genocide, and the world cannot keep silent about it. Kuleba also notes that Ukraine, together with international partners, lawyers, and experts, gathers all the necessary evidence to hold Russia, the Russian leadership, and the military to account for their war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
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