Ukraine's nuclear chief says he sees signs Russia may leave occupied nuclear power plant

Ukraine’s nuclear chief says he sees signs Russia may leave occupied nuclear power plant

KYIV – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Ukraine “cannot be broken” citing his country’s fight against the Russian invasion and marking the anniversary of the famine seen by Ukrainians as a deliberate act perpetrated by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

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“Ukrainians have been through very terrible things… In the past they wanted to destroy us with hunger — now with darkness and cold,” Zelenskiy said Nov. 26 in a video message.

“We Can’t Be Broken” he stated.

Prime Ministers of EU and NATO members Belgium, Lithuania and Poland were in Kyiv to mark the day and attend a summit hosted by Zelenskiy in support of the “Grain From Ukraine” initiative designed to get crucial supplies to world markets. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron were among those speaking through video addresses.

Zelenskiy’s remarks came amid widespread power and water cuts in his country after weeks of Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and as temperatures plummet with the onset of winter.

Zelenskiy and other leaders commemorated the victims of the Holodomor famine, which took place in 1932-33 when Stalin’s police forced Ukrainian peasants to join collective farms by requisitioning their grain and other foodstuffs.

Historians say the failure to properly harvest crops in Ukraine in 1932 under Soviet mismanagement was the main cause of the famine.

It is estimated that up to 9 million people died as a result of executions, deportations and starvation during the Stalin-era campaign.

Many Ukrainians view the famine as an act of genocide aimed at wiping out Ukrainian farmers.

Along with Ukraine, at least 16 other countries have officially recognized the Holodomor as a “genocide”.

In October 2018, the US Senate passed a non-binding resolution acknowledging that Stalin and his entourage committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-33.

German lawmakers are preparing to recognize the Holodomor as genocide, according to a draft text seen by the AFP news agency of a joint resolution by the ruling coalition and the German opposition.

Moscow has long denied any systematic effort to target Ukrainians, arguing that a poor harvest at the time wiped out many in other parts of the Soviet Union.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he had “honored the memory of the victims of the Holodomor” at a memorial in the Ukrainian capital.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, during his first visit to Kyiv since the Russian invasion, said on Twitter that “after the intensive bombardments of the last few days, we are at the side of the Ukrainian people. More than ever “.

“With the cold winter months ahead, Belgium is releasing new humanitarian and military aid,” he added.

Zelenskiy told the grain summit that Kyiv is one of the guarantors of global food security and will fulfill its duties despite the Russian invasion, citing the new “Grain From Ukraine” initiative.

He urged world leaders to support the initiative to feed around 5 million people in poor countries, especially Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Congo, Kenya and Nigeria.

Speaking through video statements at the summit, Scholz and Macron unveiled new financial packages to help Ukraine’s grain exports, which have been hit hard by the war, causing food shortages in many of the poorest countries. of the world.

“The most vulnerable countries must not pay the price for a war they did not want,” Macron said.

Zelenskiy said the Black Sea Grains Initiative – brokered by Turkey and the UN and agreed to by Russia and Ukraine – was not operating at full capacity, blaming what he called the efforts of Moscow to delay the movement of ships, leaving many ships trapped in Ukraine. harbors.

The agreement entered into force in August, aimed at unblocking grain shipments to countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia.

Ukraine and Russia are the world’s main suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other foods to these countries, and Russia was the world’s largest exporter of fertilizers before launching its continuing invasion of Ukraine in February.

Many Westerners have accused Russia of militarizing the shipment of crucial food supplies to global markets. Moscow denies the accusations.

Meanwhile, across Ukraine, millions of people are still without heat or electricity after recent devastating Russian airstrikes on infrastructure sites.

On November 26, authorities gradually restored power to many cities, aided by the reconnection to the grid of the country’s four nuclear power plants.

Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has been reported in the east and south of the country, as troops from Kyiv continue their counter-offensive, which has retaken thousands of kilometers of territory seized by Russia at the start of the war. war.

In the recently liberated southern city of Kherson and surrounding areas, authorities said at least 32 people had been killed by Russian shelling since pro-Kremlin forces withdrew two weeks ago and moved towards the east bank of the Dnieper.

“Daily Russian shelling destroys the city and kills peaceful local residents. In total, Russia has killed 32 civilians in the Kherson region since the disoccupation,” Ihor Klymenko, head of Ukraine’s national police, said on Facebook.

“Many people are evacuating to seek refuge in quieter parts of the country. But many residents are staying at home, and we need to provide them with as much security as possible,” he added.

With AFP and AP reporting


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