U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield compared Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's weaponization of food resources in Ukraine to the atrocities of Joseph Stalin during the Holodomor, according to a UN press release published Nov. 21.
During a meeting of the UN Security Council, Thomas-Greenfield said that Putin, like Stalin, used food as a weapon of war, and that the Holodomor "has become a cautionary tale about what happens when we let cruelty and tyranny go unchecked.”
The Holodomor, a man-made famine that cased an estimated 3.5 to 5 million Ukrainian deaths, took place during Joseph Stalin's term as General Secretary of the Soviet Union.
A report from the human rights law firm Global Rights Compliance published Nov. 16 showed evidence that Putin planned to starve Ukrainians and target food infrastructure ahead of the February 2022 invasion.
Matthew Hollingworth, the World Food Program's Ukraine Country Director, spoke to the Security Council via videoconference regarding the food crisis.
“Ukrainians are being cut off from accessing markets to buy food and farmers are reporting that they can no longer produce enough food — a situation that has a dramatic impact inside and outside of Ukraine,” he said.
Hollingworth said that one in five Ukrainians face food insecurity, and that people face barriers to food access in 40% of front-line settlements. He said that the emergency would only intensify in the winter months.
Russia's bombardment of Ukraine's port and grain infrastructure has also threatened global food supplies.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), there have been 31 documented Russian attacks on essential grain facilities since Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July.
“If attacks on such food infrastructure and the blockage of sea export routes continue, it will dramatically impact the agricultural production outlook over years to come, and may, in the worst-case scenario, lead to wheat production being unable to meet domestic and export demand,” Hollingworth told the Security Council.
Thomas-Greenfield said that food production in Ukraine is now 35% lower than prewar levels.
"Kyiv is doing everything in its power to feed the world," she said.
Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya said that Ukraine will commemorate the victims of the Holodomor on Nov. 25.
“As it was 90 years ago, Russia again seeks to break the will of Ukrainians to resist," Kyslytsya said.