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Civilians queue for food parcels in Kherson City, Ukraine
People across the world are at risk of starvationImage: Narciso Contreras/AA/picture alliance

Germany pledges food aid on Holodomor memorial day

November 26, 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the world "cannot tolerate" the food crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukrainians vowed Russia "will pay" for the Soviet-era famine.


As Ukrainians were marking the 90th anniversary of the start of the "Holodomor'' famine on Saturday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said "hunger must never again be used as a weapon.''

It comes as the world faces a food crisis partially brought on by Russia's war in Ukraine.

"We cannot tolerate what we are witnessing: The worst global food crisis in years with abhorrent consequences for millions of people, from Afghanistan to Madagascar, from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa,'' Scholz said.

Other European leaders were in Ukraine, to renew pledges of support. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was in Kyiv and  to "honor the memory of the Holodomor victims," Ukraine's Border Guard Service said.

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo was also in Kyiv on his first visit since Russia invaded, pledging to "stand with the people of Ukraine." 

Holodomor means 'death by starvation'

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered police in 1932 to seize all grain and livestock from newly collectivized Ukrainian farms, including the seed needed to plant the next crop. Millions of Ukrainians starved to death in the ensuing famine. 

"Russia's genocidal war of aggression pursues the same goal as during the 1932-1933 genocide: the elimination of the Ukrainian nation and its statehood," Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

This week, German lawmakers proposed a draft to declare the Holodomor a genocide.

On Saturday, Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office vowed, "Russians will pay for all of the victims of the Holodomor and answer for today's crimes."

On Twitter, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry compared Ukraine's history with the current situation. 

"Anyone can see the terror that Russia is inflicting on the Ukrainian people...This time, the theft and destruction of grain is causing famine outside of Ukraine's borders, in some of the world's poorest countries."

Global food shortages

Grain exports from Ukraine have resumed under an UN-brokered deal but have still been far short of pre-war levels, driving up global prices.

Scholz said Russia's worsened this situation by targeting the agricultural infrastructure in Ukraine in what he describes as "cynical warfare."

He said Germany was adding another €10 million ($10,3 million) to efforts to help expedite grain shipments from Ukraine.

Up to 60 Ukrainian grain ships can be sent by the middle of next year to some of the world's poorest countries in Africa, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The Guardian newspaper.

He said it would only be possible so long as international funding comes forward to subsidize the grain.

lo/wmr (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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