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     Home > Culture & Society  >  2014-01-23 13:16:06
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Ukraine talks fail to end violence

(Vatican Radio) Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko has said he will lead pro-EU protesters "on the attack" in Kiev unless the government calls a snap election. The ultimatum comes after a meeting between opposition leaders and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych failed to resolve the on-going stalemate.

The situation remains tense in the Ukrainian capital, where clashes first erupted in November after Mr Yanukovych backed out of signing a trade agreement with the European Union in favour of strengthening ties with Russia. At least two protesters were shot dead in clashes with police on Wednesday, with Ukraine’s Radio Liberty reporting the death, as yet unconfirmed, of a third activist late on Wednesday night.

To find out more about the situation on the ground, about what the church is doing and what the international community can do to help end the violence, we spoke to Bishop Borys Gudziak, of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saint Wladimir-Le-Grand de Paris.

Listen to this interview: RealAudioMP3

"Many of the Churches, including the Catholic Church – especially the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church – have been present through their clergy with the people. The people are there for weeks, day and night; they have asked for priests to be present, to pray, to hear confessions. Services are held, priests are listeners, they’re counselors.

The role of the churches has been also to highlight four main principles, and this was declared in their joint declaration on December 10th. First of all, that the government and the President should listen to the people, and not ignore them; second of all, that there should be no violence, especially on the government’s side, but also on the side of the protesters; third, that the country should not be polarised, and no manipulation should be developed to divide the population and pit one group against another; and finally, the fourth point, that dialogue is the only method that can bring Ukraine out of this political crisis. It’s not an easy method, it’s arduous, but it’s better than all others, especially better than the violence we’ve been seeing in recent days.

Without dialogue, and probably without international moderation, the situation in Ukraine can get much worse. […] Having spent nine days in Kiev in mid-December, I was profoundly moved by the spirit, by the prayer in the central square in Kiev. Prayer was a regular phenomenon: the day begins with prayer – ecumenical prayer – it’s punctuated by prayer, and in the night there is prayer at every hour.”


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