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Aid Official Warns of Growing Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-government forces clash with protesters at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, 7 August. Andrij Waskowycz, president of Caritas Ukraine, has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis while the Vatican’s nuncio also highlighted the worsening plight of Catholics because of the country’s conflict. (photo: CNS/Konstantin Chernichkin, Reuters) 

Among other cases, it said a pregnant women with seven children had been temporarily rehoused by Caritas in Lviv after leaving family members in Russian-occupied Crimea, while another woman had fled eastern Ukraine with her small children and disabled parents after her husband was held hostage and “tortured” by separatists.

Meanwhile, the Vatican’s Kiev-based nuncio, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, said the conflict had drawn some people “to a more consistent Christian way of living,” but had also been “terribly destabilizing.”

“If the country remains destabilized, we may see the Roman Catholic presence in Ukraine practically disappear — as it is, it’s small and in danger, but how can parents ask their children to stay in a country with no prospects?” Archbishop Gullickson told Vatican Radio on 6 August.

“The Greek [Byzantine] Catholic Church is even more at risk, but for different reasons — in terms of persecution from the side of Russia and others who’ve never really accepted the reality of this beautiful church,” he said.

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Tags: Ukraine Russia Caritas Crimea