Ukrainians living in Calgary fear history may be repeating itself as the war in Ukraine rages on.
On Saturday, dozens of worshippers filled St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Sobor in Calgary to commemorate the 89th Holodomor Memorial Day.
Holodomor remembers the millions of people living in Soviet Ukraine who starved to death between 1932 and 1933 because of man-made famine at the hands of then Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
However, as those in attendance honoured the many who died nearly a century ago, prayers were also said for those currently living in the war-torn country.
“The Ukrainian people now are in a genocide again the same way that in famine, “ said Christine Moussiemko with the Ukrainian Youth Association.
“But now with the war in Ukraine, and with having people here that have come and our families, it’s just like we’re living through it.”
Ihor Chernov and his wife Anastasiia Yadushenko were able to flee their home and move to Calgary with their daughter seven months ago, leaving behind a life they once knew.
“When the war was started, we decided first to stay in Ukraine with our families. We were hiding like in the cellars and the bomb shells,” said Chernov.
They say it’s difficult to honour the millions on Saturday with so many suffering and starving in the country.
“When we go to some shops, I prefer not to buy something more or what I want to buy just for taste and so on because I know that a lot of people in Ukraine cannot buy it,” said Yadushenko.
“Starving people who have no option to cook anything who are struggling of their lack of food,” said Chernov.
While food in Ukraine is becoming scarce, many people remain without power and heat, making it hard to survive the cold Ukrainian winter.
Despite a different Russian leader 89 years after the genocide of millions, Ukrainian community advocate, Romaniuk believes they’re facing the same outcome and what very well could be a modern day Holodormor.
“By every measure this is predetermined genocide on an industrial scale. If it is not stopped, what we have today may well be worse than what we had 90 years ago,” he said.
As the Russian military continue to fire rockets into the country, leveling buildings and critical infrastructure where Romaniuk’s parents once called home, he says the identity of Ukraine and its existence is being threatened.
“If the Ukrainian people and Ukraine as a country are to survive, (Vladimir) Putin’s armies need to be moved out of Ukraine — they need to leave Ukraine,” he sid. “They need to stop bombing Ukraine and until that happens no one will be safe.”