Forty-five UN member states have signed a declaration to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine against the food crisis induced by Russia’s blockade of grain exports and to honor the victims of Holodomor at the 90th anniversary of the man-made famine.

Holodomor occurred under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It was death and forced deportation for millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s, an act recognized as “genocide” by various European parliaments this year.

“We would like to emphasize in this document that the Holodomor should be a reminder for present and future generations to unconditionally respect human rights in order to prevent the repetition of such tragedies,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s permanent representative to the UN.

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He also called Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain export a “weaponization of food” that would threaten global food security, citing Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and deliberate attacks on Ukrainian port and grain infrastructure. 

Ukraine is one of the biggest wheat producers in the world, accounting for 10 percent of global wheat supplies.

Kyslytsya also drew a parallel between Holodomor and Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine, noting that the only difference is that Ukraine now enjoys international support while Holodomor remained largely unheard of until much later.

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Moscow-friendly Bucharest may not approve.

“Stalin resorted to total food confiscation and starving people to death, Putin has ordered a full-scale military invasion,” said Kyslytsia.

US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has drawn a similar parallel at a White House National Security Council meeting, calling Russia’s invasion a “war against vulnerable populations around the world.”

“Like Stalin, Putin uses food as a weapon of war. Like Stalin, Putin caused hunger and death in Ukraine,” said Thomas-Greenfield.

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