Ukraine Bishop Urges ‘Firm Action’
A Ukrainian Catholic leader urged the United States and European Union to take firmer action to stop the Russian Federation from backing armed Ukrainian separatists. “We desperately hope the international community will consolidate its voice, and Western governments act more coherently and consistently,” said Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh, C.Ss.R., secretary general of the Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops, on April 17. “Only firm joint action will stop the provocative, diversionary operations being conducted by Russian intelligence on Ukrainian territory, of which we now have proof, and force Russia to take its threatening army away from our border,” he said. In March, Ukrainians in Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia. In April, pro-Russian protesters stormed government buildings in Donetsk, Kharkiv and other eastern Ukrainian cities, raising fears of a new Russian intervention after the annexation of Crimea in March. Bishop Dzyurakh said Ukrainian Catholic clergy had not been “directly threatened” in the protest areas, but cautioned that escalating tension could give the conflict a religious dimension.