Holodomor Monument in Los Angeles, CA
© Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesFILE PHOTO: A memorial service at the Holodomor Monument in Los Angeles, CA.
Russia's Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov on Sunday criticized 'false' claims by the administration of US President Joe Biden that the Soviet leadership used famine as a weapon against Ukrainians in the 1930s and that Russia has adopted a similar policy.

He dismissed the Holodomor narrative, which he said was adopted by Ukrainian nationalists and their Western backers to depict the policies of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as inherently anti-Ukrainian.

Antonov instead insisted that the early Soviet-era famine was "a common tragedy for Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs and many other ethnic groups of the huge country." Attempts by the US to make a parallel between those events and Moscow's special military operation against Ukraine are "nothing more than a new attempt to demonize Russia," Antonov added.

The envoy's remarks were a reaction to unspecified statements by American officials on the occasion of Holodomor Remembrance Day, which was observed by Ukraine on Saturday.

The White House released a short statement by President Biden, in which he called the Soviet famine "manmade" and a policy to "repress Ukraine's national identity." He further claimed that Russian forces commanded by President Vladimir Putin are similarly seeking "to destroy Ukraine's economy and independence, deliberately damaging fields and destroying Ukraine's grain storage facilities and ports."

The US president continued that "Putin is hurting the world's most vulnerable communities, for Russia's profit," referring to the impact of the Ukraine conflict on the global food market.

Antonov scotched the allegations, stating that "giant corporations from the United States and Europe [are] earning fabulous profits in the markets of developed countries" as they resell cheap Ukrainian grain there. Russia's attempts to deliver free food and fertilizer to vulnerable developing nations are being obstructed by the US and its allies, he added.

The 1932-1933 famine was largely caused by the forced collectivization of the agricultural sector under Stalin, which seized grain to feed city dwellers and fund industrialization through exports.

The communist officials targeted somewhat more prosperous local farmers, known as 'kulaks', and pursued a ruthless policy of 'dekulakization'; Ukraine had historically been the Russian empire's 'breadbasket'. Estimates of the death toll vary greatly, but historians agree that it numbers in the millions.