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.
Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said after the decision: "this campaign has ended, and ended with nothing." He said Russia had voted against Ukraine's attempts to introduce the issue to the agenda of the 63rd UN General Assembly session, as it did at the session in July.
After the refusal, Ukraine circulated a declaration among the UN members, which according to Churkin was signed by 32 out of 192 member states.
Russia says the famine cannot be considered an act targeting Ukrainians, as millions of people from different ethnic groups lost their lives in various territories across the Soviet Union - in the North Caucasus, the Volga region, central Russia, Kazakhstan, west Siberia, and the south Urals.
"The Ukrainian government has declared this to be an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, and is politicizing this issue. We take this as an attempt to bring distrust and hostility into our relations, and to spark a dispute between the peoples of Ukraine and Russia," the Russian diplomat said.
Historians' estimates as to the number of victims in Ukraine during the famine, caused by forced collectivization, vary greatly, ranging from 2 million to 14 million.
Speaking at a ceremony to unveil a memorial in a village in western Ukraine, one of the areas hardest hit by the famine, President Viktor Yushchenko said last month that "Ukraine does not blame any nation or state for the great famine," but that the "totalitarian Communist regime" was responsible.