Russia’s efforts to annihilate Ukrainians and Ukrainian statehood through centuries

For decades, history has shown Moscow’s pathological intention to destroy Ukrainians and Ukrainian statehood. Furthermore, the Russian state has repeatedly violated humanitarian law in its genocide crimes against the Ukrainian people. After two centuries of Russian Empire rule and more than 100 bans on the Ukrainian language, Ukrainians proclaimed independence in 1917 with the collapse of tsarist rule in Moscow.

Russia’s wars against Ukraine through centuries

However, the Russian-Bolshevik army launched a war against Ukraine, seizing certain parts of the country. In the enigmatic Battle of Kruty in January 1918, 300 young warriors from the Ukrainian Military School sacrificed their lives to stop a Russian army of thousands from approaching Kyiv. The Bolsheviks captured and executed 27 Ukrainian youngsters. Russian Bolshevik troops under the command of Muravyov laid siege to Kyiv, stormed, and captured the Ukrainian capital. Following that, Russian troops slaughtered the city’s residents.

The Russians utilized the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty, which recognized Ukrainian statehood, to prepare for another war, as they had done many times throughout history. In 1919, Russian troops launched a new war, culminating in the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent repression and executions.

Executed Renaissance of Ukraine… by Russians

Moscow’s totalitarian machine kept going, as proven by the Executed Renaissance of Ukraine. Soviet authorities detained, repressed, and executed generations of Ukrainian writers and artists. Being a part of the Soviet Union, under the conditions of bans on the Ukrainian language and culture, Ukrainian cultural figures continued to create and give their lives for it. They included Valerian Pidmohylnyi, Marko Voronoi, Mykola Kulish, Mykola Khvylovyi, Mykhailo Semenko, Yevhen Pluzhnyk, Mykola Zerov, Les Kurbas, and many others.

Sandarmokh has become a tragic symbol of the Soviet totalitarian communist regime’s atrocities against Ukrainian culture. In the 1930s, the Soviet punitive police of the NKVD killed over 9,500 people in this forest area in the Republic of Karelia; the majority of them were captives from Siberia’s Gulag camps. Mass executions claimed the lives of Ukrainian writers, cultural figures, scholars, clerics, and activists.

Among them were the director Les Kurbas, playwright Mykola Kulish, writers Mykola Zerov, Marko Voronoi, Valerian Pidmohylnyi, and Myroslav Irchan, history professors Oleksandr Badan-Yavorenko, Serhiy Hrushevsky, and Volodymyr Chekhivsky, and writer and Ukrainian People’s Republic Minister of Education Antin Krushelnytsky.

Holodomor: Stalin’s regime’s act of genocide against the Ukrainian people

Stalin’s totalitarian regime did not stop there and committed an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people—the Holodomor. In 1932–1933, the Soviet authorities created an artificial mass famine in Ukraine, which claimed the lives of, according to various sources, 5-8 million Ukrainians.

The Soviet Union caused mass famine in Ukrainian villages by forcibly taking property through collectivization and grain harvests. Moscow attempted to conceal the atrocities, but dozens of countries now recognize the Holodomor as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Operations of forced mass deportation of Ukrainians

After annexing western Ukraine at the end of the Second World War, Moscow resumed its murderous effort to annihilate the Ukrainian people and their desire for freedom and independence. Operation “The West” was the most massive forced deportation of the population of Western Ukraine, carried out on October 21, 1947.

In one day, about 78,000 people were deported from Ukraine’s cities and villages to Kazakhstan and Siberia in railroad cars that traveled thousands of kilometers in horrific conditions. This was the largest, but not the last, deportation of Ukrainians from their homes. In total, over 200,000 people have been deported from western Ukraine to Siberia over the course of several years.

Putin regime’s war against Ukraine in 2024

Ukraine gained independence after suffering repressions, arrests of dissidents, executions, and destruction of culture for 70 years in the Soviet Union. However, Russia did not abandon its efforts to conquer Ukraine and destroy its statehood, and Putin’s totalitarian regime took up the task. 

In 2014, the Russians seized Crimea and started a war in Donbas. The shooting of hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers near Ilovaysk, who were leaving the encirclement in agreement with the evil Russians. The downing of the international flight MH17. The war launched by the Russian Federation claimed the lives of hundreds and thousands of innocent victims.

Russia’s war crimes against Ukraine in 2022

The Russian Armed Forces started a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Russian troops brought their traditional crimes, namely tortures, executions, and rapes of civilians, to Ukrainian towns and villages. The world was horrified by the Russian war crimes committed in Bucha and other liberated towns and villages in Ukraine.

The Russian invaders are notorious for the extermination of Ukrainians, and their crimes have all the signs of genocide, including torture chambers, mass executions of innocent people, and mass graves. This is what the world saw again when the Ukrainian military liberated the town of Izyum in the Kharkiv region from invaders.

Russia systematically violates international humanitarian law. Every time the Russian invaders demonstrate not only their sick desire to destroy all the Ukrainians but also their disregard for the laws and customs of war. Russians bombard Ukrainian cities with missiles and drones, destroying residential buildings and killing civilians, including children.

Russia’s war crimes against Ukrainian POWs

The terrorist attack against Ukrainian prisoners of war in the occupied settlement of Olenivka in Donbas in July 2022 was another reminder of this. Russian-organized explosions in the prison where Ukrainian military prisoners were held resulted in the deaths of at least 53 people and left more than 130 wounded.

The Kremlin once again reminded us of its disregard for humanitarian law and the laws and customs of war in early 2024. Russia began manipulating the lives of Ukrainian prisoners of war who had been allegedly on board a Russian plane that had crashed in the Belgorod region.

The actions taken and statements made by the Russian authorities over the past hundred years have shown only a desire to destroy the Ukrainian people, lie to achieve their evil goals, and violate international law and the laws of war.

A century ago, Ukraine lost to Russia because it stood alone against a bloody regime. Now Ukraine holds thanks to the aid of the democratic world.

Yet, to withstand and put an end to Russia’s genocidal assault, this assistance must last until victory.

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt
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