Catholic Ukrainians in the USA denounce Russian annexations


Eastern Europe


Borys Gudziak. Photo Wikimedia Commons, NickK

The Ukrainian Catholic community in the United States denounces Russia's annexations of several Ukrainian regions. The bishops do not acknowledge the referenda Russia held among the Ukrainian population.

"We wholeheartedly and unconditionally condemn this escalation and codification of brutal Russian aggression," the five bishops write in a statement that was published by RISA.ua. They call on all "people of goodwill" to "confirm and amplify their active spiritual and material solidarity with the Ukrainian people."

The bishops assert that the four regions that Russia annexed form 15 per cent of the entire Ukrainian territory. Russia's "imperialistic colonialism" "enslaves the general population, its Churches and religious communities", the bishops, under whom Metropolitan Borys Gudziak, Eparch Paul Chomnycky and Eparch Benedict Aleksiychuk warn.

The bishops are afraid that the Russian authorities will limit religious freedom and calls believers of different kinds of faith to stand up "for truth and justice will be under a death sentence if these occupied territories of the Ukrainian state are not liberated."

The bishops refer to earlier Russian invasions of Ukraine. "Whenever a Russian regime annexes Ukrainian territory, Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox life is suffocated. The result is always the same. All faiths suffer along with the general population."

Furthermore, they point out that the Russian war crimes in Bucha and Irpin, for example, show the genocidal intent of the Russian authorities.

The bishops conclude with a call for prayer and support for the defence of democracy and "Biblical truth in Ukraine and the world."

"We knew the outcome before the vote"

Other Ukrainian Roman Catholic believers in Philadelphia also denounce the annexation of Ukrainian territory. "Putin's referendum is a sham, just like all his treaty agreements, Sister Ann Laszok said to Catholic News Service. She belongs to the St Basil the Great order in Pennsylvania. "People were forced under gunfire to vote for acceptance. We knew the outcome before the vote."

On September 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially incorporated four Ukrainian regions into Russia. On October 3, this annexation was acknowledged by the State Duma.



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