U.N. denies Ukraine's genocide claim

July 12, 2008 at 3:38 PM

NEW YORK, July 12 (UPI) -- The United Nations General Assembly has decided not to put genocide claims by Ukraine onto its current session agenda, Russian officials said Saturday.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin lobbied the General Assembly against opening discussions on Ukraine's claim that the catastrophic 1932-33 famine, which historians blame on Josef Stalin's failed efforts at collectivization, amounted to genocide.

The U.N.'s Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe went so far as to adopt a resolution condemning the famine, but fell short of recognizing it as an act of genocide, Churkin said.

"We believe it would be a disservice to the memories of hundreds of thousands of people who died of hunger in other countries and regions of the former Soviet Union to raise this issue at the U.N., in relation to only one of the regions that suffered," he told the Russian news service RIA Novosti.

Churkin said it wasn't only Ukraine that starved in what he called "a tragic page in the shared history of the peoples of the Soviet Union," but also Belarus, the Volga area, the Black Sea area, the Don area and the North Caucasus.

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