Calgarians pay tribute to Holodomor genocide victims

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Calgarians pay tribute to Holodomor genocide victims
WATCH ABOVE: Members of Calgary's Ukrainian community came are commemorating the 83rd anniversary of the Holodomor genocide. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, many are using the event to bring awareness to the current hardships Ukrainians are facing, as their country struggles through armed conflict. – Nov 27, 2016

Members of Calgary’s Ukrainian community came together Saturday to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of Holodomor, the genocide that killed millions of people in Ukraine in the 1930’s.

St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church hosted a somber service to remember those who suffered and died in a mass starvation during the tyrannical regime of Josef Stalin.

READ MORE: Travelling exhibition sheds light on Holodomor genocide

It has been called one of the darkest chapters in human history, but for many Ukranian Canadians, the anniversary is a reminder of the conflict that has also plagued their homeland for the past two years.

“It’s a country at war,” Michael Ilnycky of the Calgary Ukrainian Congress said. “There are people being killed every day… young people… a lot of soldiers on the front.”

Inna Platonova moved to Calgary from Ukraine and worries about her family still living there.

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“The Stalin regime was using propaganda to conceal this crime. Russia, in the same way, is using very elaborate information and communication technologies of modern times, trying to conceal the truth of what’s happening in Ukraine right now,” Platonova suggested.

It’s estimated around 10,000 people have died since Russia took control of Crimea. Pro-Ukraine forces continue to defend the embattled peninsula.

“Russia is trying really hard to keep Ukraine in its orbit of influence. But you know what? Stalin failed and Putin will fail too,” Platonova said.

While the conflict in Ukraine has been out of the headlines lately, attendees at Saturday’s service suggest it’s important to keep in mind there are still around 200 Canadian troops there, training Ukrainian army members. Soliders from Edmonton’s 3rd Canadian division were deployed in August.

The mission is set to expire in March.

-With files from Carolyn Kury de Castillo

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