Holodomor commemoration: Belgian senate president addresses Ukrainian Parliament
Senate president Stephanie D'Hose met Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Saturday and attended a commemoration of the genocide during the Great Famine in Ukraine. In a speech to parliament, she condemned the deportation of Ukrainian children by Russia.
D'Hose travelled to Ukraine to mark the 90th anniversary of the Great Ukrainian Famine. The Holodomor, where peasants were starved in 1932 and 1933 under Stalin's Soviet regime, is estimated to have killed millions of people and is considered one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Ukraine.
In March, the Belgian Chamber of Deputies recognised the Holodomor as genocide. Zelensky and several European parliamentarians, including D'Hose, attended a ceremony at the memorial in the centre of Kyiv on Saturday.
The group then went to the Presidential Palace. D'Hose was warly welcomed to the Parliament by the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk. D'Hose presented him with a resolution, adopted by the Senate on Friday, proposing sanctions against Russia for its policy of forced deportation of Ukrainian children.
She was the first Belgian ever to address the Ukrainian parliament. "More than 20,000 Ukrainian children are in danger of being sacrificed on the altar of Putin's madness," she said. "We must bring the children home, and when we bring them home, we must give them a world without war, a world without Putin."
She received a standing ovation. As a member of the Ukraine Working Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a long-standing diplomatic organisation of parliamentarians, D'Hose is involved in negotiations for the return of abducted Ukrainian children. She notes that these negotiations are "cautiously positive".
© BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE / © BELGA VIDEO MAARTEN WEYNANTS