ROME — Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said Tuesday that despite Russia’s sham justifications for its invasion of Ukraine, the real reason is its longstanding “imperial ambitions.”
“Heavy, bloody fighting has been going on in eastern Ukraine over the last night and the last day,” Archbishop Shevchuk notes in a video message. “The Donetsk and Luhansk regions are on fire. The so-called missile terrorism continues, and Russian missiles hit wounded Chernihiv region again.”
“Similarly, the Lviv region suffered the largest rocket attack during the war,” he adds in his rundown of the situation. “In the same way, our Odesa region suffers from missile strikes, in particular from the Black Sea.”
“War is always devastating, and according to official United Nations figures, if the war continues, nine out of ten Ukrainians will be on the brink of poverty,” he continued, while noting that Ukraine has already lost most of its economic potential and the amount of humanitarian aid received at the beginning of the war has “fallen sharply.”
“But Ukraine is standing, Ukraine is fighting, even while Ukraine today is facing difficult circumstances,” he said.
The archbishop also thanked those who have expressed their solidarity and support for the Ukrainian people.
In particular, he thanked the Australian Bishops for a letter of solidarity in which they were unafraid to call out Russian President Vladimir Putin for his attempted genocide of the Ukrainian people.
“The bishops of Australia clearly say who the criminal is,” Shevchuk stated. “They are clear about how many years — decades and centuries — Ukraine has known oppression and been destroyed by the imperial ambitions of our northern neighbor.”
The Church in Australia “speaks the truth to the world,” he said, and thus creates “wider ecclesial Communion and support, comforting us in Ukraine in our sorrow.”
Because of this support, “we feel that we are not alone in our misery, we are not alone in our grief, we are not fighting alone, behind us is the great Church of Christ and the great family of Christian nations around the world,” Shevchuk declared.
“Ukraine’s true consolation will be its victory,” he said, the moment “when the Lord will wipe away the tears of children, mothers, fathers of Ukraine. This will be when the last enemy will be expelled from our homeland.”
“That is why today we call on the Holy Spirit to give us strength, the strength to endure,” he said, referencing the upcoming Christian feast of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. “May the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, bring peace to Ukraine.”
“O God, comfort the afflicted! O God, be our only consolation!” the archbishop prayed. “O God, eliminate the cause of our sorrow and grief! O Holy Spirit, Comforter, comfort! Comfort the Ukrainian people and bless their children, the Ukrainian army, those who are fighting evil!”