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21 September 2017
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Reporter dubbed as ”unsung hero” remembered in UK

His greatest achievement was his expose of the famine in Ukraine.

A plaque has been unveiled at Aberystwyth University in memory of a murdered Welsh journalist dubbed an "unsung hero" of Ukraine, according to BBS News, UK.

Gareth Jones exposed a famine in the former Soviet Union in 1933 that killed millions, but was later shot by bandits in Inner Mongolia in 1935. During his brief career, Mr Jones, from Barry in south Wales, also reported on the rise of Germany`s Nazi Party.

Ukraine`s ambassador to the UK attended the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday.

Mr Jones graduated from Aberystwyth University in 1926. From 1930, he acted as a foreign affairs advisor to the then former prime minister David Lloyd George.  This led to a career as a journalist, reporting for newspapers including The Times, the Western Mail, Daily Express, the New York Evening Post and the Manchester Guardian.

As well as visiting the Soviet Union, he reported on President Roosevelt in the United States, on Mussolini`s rise in Italy and the troubles in Ireland.

He was also in Leipzig the day Adolf Hitler was made Germany`s Chancellor in 1933, and later flew with the dictator to a rally in Frankfurt and  interviewed Hitler`s head of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.

But perhaps his greatest achievement as a journalist was his expose of the famine in Ukraine, the Caucasus and Kazakhstan in 1932/3, which is estimated to have killed between seven and 10 million people.

The story was reported around the world, but the journalist was later banned from ever returning to the Soviet Union.

"Gareth Jones, largely forgotten except by his family, is today being called by Ukrainians `The Unsung Hero of Ukraine`," said his niece Margaret Siriol Colley.

"Seventy years ago Gareth returned from the Soviet Union after his third visit and on March 29 1933, in Berlin, he made his grim press report revealing the genocide-famine in Ukraine, the Caucasus, Kazakhstan and the Volga region, the result of Stalin`s ruthless determination to carry out the five-year plan of collectivisation and industrialisation.

"The number of deaths has never been truly ascertained but estimated that it was between seven to 10 million."

At the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Kharchanko said Mr Jones was an "outstanding figure who should be noted". He added: "He should be seen as a hero for what he did and for the way he put his life  on the line."

Mr Jones` links with Aberystwyth date back to the mid-1920s. He graduated from the town`s university with a first class degree in French. In 1929, he gained another first class honours from Trinity College, Cambridge in French, German and Russian.

He died aged 30 in suspicious circumstances, according to his family. He was invited to Inner Mongolia in 1935, but was kidnapped by Chinese bandits and killed.

Mr Kharchanko was joined by senior representatives from the Ukrainian community in the UK and Canada at the unveiling of the plaque at the university`s Old College.  

The news was monitored by The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service, Morgan Williams, Editor.

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