October 8, 2015 / 3:09 PM / 4 years ago

Belarussian Nobel Prize winner says Russia invaded Ukraine

Belarussian author Svetlana Alexievich speaks during a news conference in Minsk, Belarus, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

MINSK (Reuters) - The Belarussian recipient of the Nobel prize for literature charged Russia on Thursday with carrying out an “invasion” of Ukraine by backing separatists in its eastern regions.

Author Svetlana Alexievich, who was awarded the prize for her portrayal of life in the former Soviet Union, said she had wept when she saw photographs of those shot dead during street protests in Kiev in February 2014 against a Moscow-leaning president.

The subsequent pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern territories, which has killed over 8,000 people, was a result of foreign interference, she said, pointing the finger at Russia.

“It is occupation, a foreign invasion,” she said at a press briefing after the announcement of her win.

“I love the good Russian world, the humanitarian Russian world, but I do not love the Russian world of Beria, Stalin and Shoigu,” she said, referring to Soviet leader Josef Stalin, the security chief responsible for Stalin-era mass purges, Lavrenty Beria, and the current Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.

Ukraine and NATO accuse Russia of sending troops and weapons to separatist rebels in the east, a charge Russia denies.

Much of Alexievich’s work chronicles the impact of conflict, including narratives about women during the Second World War and a portrayal of the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan told from the perspective of ordinary citizens.

Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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