In a message marking the anniversary of their country’s December 1991 referendum on independence from the Soviet Union, Ukrainian Catholic bishops said Ukrainians had a ‘right and sacred duty’ to defend themselves against ‘Russian aggression’, but should also avoid yielding to alarm and panic.
‘On the eve of our homeland’s Christmas season, another heavy test has fallen on us – an open show of aggression by the Russian Federation, which has deployed large military forces on our country’s borders by land and sea, attacking our ships, and wounding and capturing dozens of Ukrainian military seamen,’ said the 1st December message, signed by Ukrainian Catholic Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.
‘Whatever the external manifestations of these latest aggressive actions against our state and people, it should be remembered such actions have spiritual roots in the hearts of criminals and aggressors captured by evil forces.’
The bishops said Russian actions had been condemned by the international community and countered by the Ukrainian government’s imposition of martial law in 10 regions.
However, they added that ‘the key to ultimate victory by people and state over the forces of darkness and evil’ would come with ‘the spirit of sacrificial love for homeland and civil solidarity’.
Picture: Ukrainian soldiers ride atop armoured vehicles during military exercises on 3rd December in the Ukrainian ground forces training centre near Honcharivske. Ukrainian Catholic bishops said Ukrainians had a ‘right and sacred duty’ to defend themselves against ‘Russian aggression’, but should also avoid yielding to alarm and panic. (CNS photo/Valentyn Ogirenko Shevchuk, Reuters).