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Archbishop: Ukrainian conflict is Europe's biggest crisis since WWII

By Elise Harris

Rome, Italy, Jun 7, 2015 / 03:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News) - The head of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church said the country is facing a “humanitarian catastrophe” with global consequences that cannot be ignored by the international community.

He called on participants of next week’s G7 Summit in Bavaria to work toward effective solutions.

“The aggression against Ukraine is a challenge for preserving peace in the world which cannot pretend that nothing happens in Eastern Europe,” said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, an eastern rite Catholic Church in full communion with Rome.

Conflict erupted in Ukraine last year in February when the country’s former president was ousted following months of violent protest, and a new government appointed. In March, Ukraine’s eastern peninsula of Crimea was annexed by Russia and pro-Russian separatist rebels have since taken control of eastern portions of Ukraine, around Donetsk and Luhansk.

More than 6,000 people have died in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Rebels have been supported by both Russian arms and troops, according to both Ukraine and Western nations.

A ceasefire was brokered and officially began at midnight Feb. 15, however fighting has continued.

Archbishop Shevchuk told CNA May 28 that the conflict in Ukraine is not simply an isolated dispute, but rather has “serious global consequences.”

He spoke of the Vatican’s diplomatic commitment to helping find a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian conflict, as well as a possible visit of Pope Francis to Ukraine.


Below is CNA’s full interview with the archbishop, edited for clarity and grammar:

Q: In February a ceasefire in the conflict zones of Ukraine was agreed to, however fighting seems to continue. Has the conflict improved at all since February, and are there signs on either side that fighting could end by the 2016 decentralization goal?

A: We have received the news about a cease-fire agreement in Minsk with great hope. However, it is with sadness that we must admit that these agreements have not been implemented. The cease-fire is being violated. It’s true that the intensity of fighting on the occupied territories has decreased, but it doesn’t mean that the fighting has stopped at all. Every day we receive sad news that someone has been killed or wounded in the result of continued fighting. Yesterday (May 27) we learned that our army was under sustained shelling near Mariupol. The most alarming for the Ukrainian society, however, is the fact that over the last months, hundreds of pieces of heavy weaponry have reached Ukrainian territory from the side of the Russian Federation. This equipment includes tanks (there are about 700 of them in Donbass according to the Ukrainian authorities), heavy artillery, mobile rocket launchers etc. Besides that, according to the information of the Ukrainian government and international observers, there is a massive accumulation of Russian troops in Ukraine and on the Russian border. These facts make us believe that Russian side with its heavy military presence in Ukraine is not seeking peace, they don’t rely on the rule of law or on the respect of the international agreements but they abide only to the rule of force. Using the threat of arms, Russia is trying to dictate its will to Ukraine. In my opinion, as long as the fighting continues in Ukraine and there is an increase in Russian military presence on the occupied territories of Donbas, the true political process, which would lead to a peaceful solution of the conflict, is unlikely to bring any results. So in this sense, the intended decentralization as a part of the constitutional reform of the Ukrainian government will have no effect on the peace process either.


Q: The topic of the Ukrainian conflict will most likely be addressed during the G7 Summit in Bavaria June 7-8. Do you have hopes for the outcome of the discussion, and are there specific themes that you would like to see leaders address?

A: For ordinary Ukrainian citizens it is very important that the international community, especially the G7 Summit, considers the war in Ukraine not under the perspective of a local conflict but as a conflict with serious global consequences coming into effect now and even more so in the future. I think an encouragement for Russia’s violation of the international laws and military aggression is the fact that no international institution nowadays has the power to provide proper functioning of the international security system which used to guarantee peace between the nations in the past. In these circumstances, no one in the globalized world can be at peace, no one can feel safety, even if he/she finds himself/herself far away from Eastern Ukraine. The aggression against Ukraine is a challenge for preserving peace in the world which cannot pretend that nothing happens in Eastern Europe. I would like that the G7 Summit in Bavaria takes into account that the Eastern Europe now faces a humanitarian catastrophe which, considering the territory it might effect, is the greatest crisis since the end of the WWII. Let us stop the war together! Let us show solidarity to Ukraine which is a victim of unjustified aggression!


Q:  Pope Francis has shown great interest in the Ukrainian conflict, and is credited with having helped restore relations between the United States and Cuba. Do you think that the Vatican could help in reaching a peace agreement in Ukraine?

A: Holy Father Pope Francis has stated on numerous occasions that he will do everything possible to prevent the outbreak of a new war in Europe. During the last visit “Ad limina” of Catholic Bishops of Ukraine to the Vatican (Feb. 20, 2015), Pope Francis assured our Bishops that the Holy See will do its best to secure peace agreements in Ukraine. How it will happen, what steps will be taken, we don’t know. But the history of our Church teaches us that the peace of Christ always wins over the war, and the truth of God is on the side of those who are unjustly treated. Seventy years ago all our Bishops were imprisoned by the Stalin regime, our Church structures were destroyed, our church property was confiscated. Our enemies thought they put to an end the very existence of our Church, but to their great surprise after many years of clandestine existence in the underground, our Church has risen to a full ecclesial existence 25 years on the eve of Ukraine’s Independence. We want to believe that today God is with Ukraine because our country is a victim of unjust military aggression. We are convinced that our Savior, who became a victim Himself on the cross for the salvation of the humankind, will help us. And the Holy Father, who is Vicar of Christ on earth, is and will be our support and our help in these difficult times.


Q: The Pope has also been invited by the bishops to visit Ukraine. Has there been a response on the part of the Vatican as to when a visit could foreseeably take place?

A: The Catholic Bishops of Ukraine as well as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko have officially invited the Pope to visit Ukraine. In our opinion, similarly to military conflicts between Argentina and Chile as well as Argentina and Great Britain, the peace mission of the Holy Father helped to stop the war. So we are convinced that the visit of the Holy Father to Ukraine would be a very powerful gesture of peace which, empowered by the Holy Spirit, would accomplish what is not possible for the G7. As far as I know there is no official response of the Holy See to this invitation, but there is no decline of the invitation either. So we pray and we hope that this visit will take place in the nearest future.

 

END

Past Issues

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

Dec. 17, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Celebrate Christmas 'unplugged'; Msgr. Matthew Smith; Klan; Catholic Charities Annual Appeal; Fr. Larry Rosebaugh; A Guadalupe Encounter; Laci and Joe Salazar; A Christmas Wish; Adoption; Confession; Advent; EWTN; Christmas Blues; Tilma; Pittsburgh; PSR

 

Dec. 3, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2017 NCYC; Wheel of Balance; Marita Rother; Stanley Rother; slavery; trafficking; Windthorst water damage; martyred priests; confession; reconciliation; How to go to confession; recipe for codfish cakes; Catholic schools; appeal

 

Nov. 19, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Saints; Father Kola; Black Elk; Giving Tuesday; velvet Elvis; a Slice of Time; Dani Sandoval; Mexican Village; Father Tim Hickey; New faces at chancery; priests share thoughts on confession; Wheel of Balance

 

Nov. 5, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Matrimony Anniversary Mass, 2017; Riebel; Faith and Light; Scripture Day; Sex in the Bible; Quilt, Mexican Village Story; Finance; Fatima pilgrimage; Fowler church window renovation; Medicare; Crazy Glue


Oct. 15, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Father Francis Jordan; Sister Renee Kirmer; Father Rother beatified; religious liberty; RCIA Kansas; V Encuentro; Bishop Weisenburger; Daughters of Isabella; Bishop Gerber Science Center


Oct. 1, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: De Colores; Rebein; Dreamer; Pies; Kellner; Code Quilts; Sister Crucita; Feezor; Formed.org; Sin and pain

 

 Sept. 17, 2017

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Sister Lucy Fidelis; Underground Railroad; Sister Irene Hartman; DACA; new priests; teachers; Volunteer of the Year; Golf Classic; St. Francis Xavier; St. Nicholas Parish Center, Kinsley; seminarians; Knights Lite; Stewardship Day 2017

Sept. 3, 2017

Aug. 13, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Coronado Cross; Masada; Moody Gardens; Elders; Rother; undocumented children; cages; year of mercy; Kumi; Hollywood makeup artist; New Mexico; refugee women.

July 16, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Summer camp; tithing and almsgiving; Bill Baalmann; Nathan Schaller; Jubilarian Sisters; Sister Hortencia Rodriguez; Sister Petrona Stockemer; Sister Denise Sevart; Convocation of Catholic Leaders; Mother talks about her son entering seminary; Arcoiris; Youth group travels to Colorado Springs; Major Phillip Roth

June 11, 2017 (Updated)

Ordination; Mark Brantley; Jacob Schneider; Father's Day; Thanks, Dad!; Appeal; Sister Mary Martin Weaver; Bishop Maralit; Budget; Trafficked women; Deacon Michael Brungardt; Dead Sea Scrolls; softball; Father Urban retirement; Sister Kravec retirement; Father Mazouch retirement; Authentic Joy; Pris Climate Accord; Jack Schramm; Pieta.

May 28, 2017 (Updated)

 

Grateful Hearts; MSFS Provincial; Reddy; Reif; Opossum; Dead Sea Scrolls; Our Lady of Fatima; Jorge Herrera, Jr.; Cursillo; Kough; First Communion; Confirmation

May 14, 2017

Esteban Hernandez; citizen; Lilly Ann Rein, Amberly Jimenez, Mother's Day; peacock; Quattrocchi; President Kennedy; Teen Moms; Junior High Youth Rally; Encounter With God's Call; granny/nanny; seniors' contributions; tornado anniversary; harvest; healthcare; Mr. Brown; Store-bought teeth; Louis and Zelie Martin; Father John Sullivan; Irish priest whose prayers could heal; Mexican beauty queen; Esmaralda Gonzalez; religious life

April 30, 2017

   KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; bully; TEC; Father Marvin Reif; Bet'sie; What makes a hero?; St. Mary of the Plains; tornado

Easter, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Honorable courtship; footsteps of migrants; CHRISM Mass 2017; honoring priests; Encuentro Cross blessed; Daughters of Isabella State Convention; Fatima pilgrim statue; Mary Sharon Moore interview; Senate advances pro-life measures; love must be at the core of family life; Father John Forkuoh's car story; Confirmations; Sisters of Concordia; CNN hero Father Khalil Jaar

March 26, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: From the heart; kidney; Rother; Friar Carmelo; Schnauzer; Lauren Seachris; Lauren's Treat; fire; Guatemala; immigration; Lenten Regulations 1888; Hot Cross Buns; budget; Trump; Forkuoh; Seiwert; South Sudan; hot ashes

March 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Refugees; immigrants; Gilbert Herrman; When you give alms'; Lent; Call to Continuing Conversion, Rite of Election; Charell and Jeremy Owings; adoption; Our Growing Church; Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; water; creation; Sudan; Darlow Lampe

Feb 26, 2017

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Night to shine; Immigration; immigrants; Knights of Columbus; Pete Gomez; this foreign mission; Creole; Robin Doll; Eagle Scout; Quest

Feb 12, 2017

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; March for Life; Pro-life; Executive Order; Secular Franciscan Order; teachers; Down Syndrome; Eagle Scout; Bronze Pelican

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KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Thank you, religious; SEEK 2017; homeless man to priest; Fourth Sunday; Secret Service to Sacred Heart; Dr. Gerard Brungardt; Martin Luther King; 110 year old nun; Toddler miracle; Letter from undocumented immigrant; health care; immigration

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KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Mary helps us share; Tighe donates home to Birthright; Pro-life billboard; Theobald Hattrup; Helen and Steve Eck; Pearl Harbor; Reigning Grace

Dec. 18, 2017

KEYWORDS: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2016; Pope Francis Christmas schedule; 2016 high school youth rally; Aerospace engineer; Father Stanley Rother; Radio station; Dying girl's letter; Scout nominations; 12 days of Christmas

Dec. 4, 2016

KEYWORDS: Vocations Day; Pope Advent advice; Ex-prostitute; Spearville mission; Pilgrims v. Zombies; Face of God; Mission bazaar; Ness City fall festival; Rural health care; Archbishop Gomez; Bishops congratulate Trump

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Oct. 23, 2016

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Sept. 25, 2016


Sept. 11, 2016

 
Aug. 7, 2016

July 10, 2016

June 12, 2016

May 29, 2016

May 8, 2016


 April 24, 2016

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March 13, 2016

Feb. 28, 2016

 

Feb. 14, 2016


Jan. 31 , 2016

Jan. 17, 2016

Dec. 20, 2015

Dec. 6, 2015

Nov. 15, 2015

Nov. 1, 2015

Oct. 18, 2015

Oct. 4, 2015

Sept. 20, 2015

Sept. 6, 2015

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Easter, 2015

 

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