The rising tension on the border between Ukraine and Russia is not “only a part” of a wider confrontation between Western countries on the one hand and Russia on the other. In any case, this is the analysis proposed by Mgr Sviatoslav Chevtchouk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, on Friday 4 February. He was speaking during a conference organized by the international branch of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
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For the Ukrainian primate, the new threats to his country are not “not a mere continuation” clashes between Moscow and Kiev that exist “for eight years already”with Russian support for the Donbass separatists and the annexation of Crimea. “Right now, there is something very different”he says in comments reported by Catholic News Agency.
For Bishop Chevtchouk, “Ukraine is only part of the full panorama of different threats and tensions”. Because, according to him, it is in reality “of a large-scale escalation between Russia and the West”, particularly with NATO countries and the United States. Because of this clash at a distance, “we are on the verge of a very dangerous escalation of military aggression against Ukraine”.
This ACN online conference came a day after the US asserted that Russia was about to falsely accuse Ukraine of attacking it, in order to use it as a pretext to start the conflict. According to information from American intelligence revealed on Sunday February 6, Moscow would have prepared its armed forces for a large-scale invasion of its western neighbor.
Emmanuel Macron in Moscow then Kiev
Faced with the worsening situation, French President Emmanuel Macron is due to travel to Moscow and Kiev on Monday February 7 and Tuesday February 8 to meet his counterparts Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky.
ACN’s event was also an opportunity to remember the day of prayer for peace in Ukraine wanted by Pope Francis on Wednesday, January 26. “I follow with concern the rise of tensions which risk dealing a new blow to peace in Ukraine and jeopardizing the security of the European continent”, he said when announcing this day. In Rome, the initiative took concrete form in a prayer led by Bishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, before the diplomatic corps, among which the Russian and Ukrainian representatives were in the forefront.