In late 2006 Ukraine's parliament recognized the Stalin-era famine known as Holodomor as an act of genocide by the Soviet authorities, but Russia has consistently rejected Ukraine's interpretation of events.
Earlier this month the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe adopted a resolution condemning the famine, but falling short of recognizing it as an act of genocide.
The UN General Assembly backed Russia's recommendation not to include Holodomor in the current session's discussions. The decision was made at a plenary meeting on Friday.
Russia's ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said on Friday: "We believe it would be a disservice to the memories of hundreds of thousands of people who died of hunger in other countries and regions of the former Soviet Union to raise this issue at the UN, in relation to only one of the regions that suffered."
He said that mass starvation in the Soviet Union in the 1930s "was a tragic page in the shared history of the peoples of the Soviet Union," in which not only Ukraine but also Belarus, the Volga area, the Black Sea area, the Don area and the North Caucasus went hungry from 1931, as well as northern Kazakhstan, the southern Urals, and western Siberia. Moreover, part of present-day western Ukraine was then Polish territory, he said.