Pope Francis urged to reiterate support for Ukraine and call for peace in meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) has appealed to His Holiness Pope Francis to reiterate his support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the fundamental human rights of its people during a meeting with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin scheduled for July 4, 2019, in the Vatican.
In a letter sent on July 1, 2019, highlighting the humanitarian calamity caused by the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the UWC expressed gratitude on behalf of Ukrainians worldwide for the call of His Holiness to the international community to provide aid and assistance for the reconstruction of the regions of Ukraine affected by the war. The war, however, persists, and international and humanitarian laws continue to be violated by the Russian Federation.
The UWC has requested of His Holiness to convey to the Russian leader the consequences of the hybrid aggression against Ukraine, specifically the profound suffering of the Ukrainian people, and the insistence of the UWC and its constituents in 62 countries that the Russian Federation discontinue its aggression.
In addition, the UWC appealed to His Holiness to support the demands of the international community including leaders of the European Union for the Russian Federation to unconditionally release the Ukrainian sailors that were arrested, return the Ukrainian ships that were seized and guarantee safe passage for all vessels through the Kerch Strait in accord with international law.
“A lasting peace in Ukraine, specifically on the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas, is not attainable without the return of Crimea to Ukraine and the withdrawal of all Russian hybrid forces from the Eastern Ukrainian territory of Donbas,” stated UWC Vice President and Chair of the UWC Commission for Religious Affairs Stefan Romaniw. “We urge His Holiness Pope Francis to support the renewal of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the human rights and well-being of the people affected by this war, by conveying the concerns of the UWC, the Ukrainian and international communities to President Putin.”
On the eve of a meeting on July 5-6, 2019, convened by His Holiness Pope Francis with the metropolitan archbishops and members of the permanent synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), the UWC Commission for Religious Affairs also sent a letter on July 1, 2019, to Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk reiterating unwavering support for the work and development of the UGCC throughout the world, and for the granting by His Holiness of patriarchal status to the UGCC.