A peace plan for the Donbass region was proposed by the newly elected Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko who announced his willingness “to offer a blanket pardon to all those who lay down their arms and are not guilty of serious crimes” and “to offer a corridor to give mercenaries the possibility of leaving the country without weapons”. But the offer of a truce appears hard to concretize. Separatists continue strengthening their positions with roadblocks in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and are preparing to launch “Grad” anti-aircraft missile systems against the local population. As of June 28 the ATO forces (Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist-Operations comprising the police and National Guard corps) continue carrying out operations for the protection and defense of national borders. Security officers are relentlessly encircling and closing in their grips the terrorists in urban centres and controlled areas. Pro-Russian militants have intensified their activity seeking to break out from the ATO forces encirclement. It’s a veritable circle of fire. Ongoing armed strife. The conflict in eastern Ukraine is scarred with the blood of other two journalists. A mortar attack caused the death of Igor Korneliuk, reporter of Russia’s national television who perished in the hospital of Lugansk before entering the operating room. The video operator who was with him, Anton Voloshin, was killed outright. While Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko have discussed the possibility of a ceasefire, in the region of Poltava, in central Ukraine, and which is not the site of the battles, a gas pipeline that brings Russian gas from Siberia to the European Union mysteriously exploded. The causes are yet unclear. Economic and gas war. Also from the economic angle – Mykhaylo Melnyk said from Kiev- the situation in Donetsk is critical: the regional treasury (the regional branch of the national Bank) is in the hands of the terrorists and because of this action, people and companies risk remaining without money. This same concern was expressed also by the head of the regional administration of Donetsk, Serhij Taruta. In the meantime, “Naftogaz” (a Ukrainian company) filed a lawsuit with the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce accusing Gazprom (Russian) of unreasonably high prices decided on political grounds. “It’s a gas war – Melnyk pointed out – which has become routine and which Russia has been using to substantiate its invasion of Ukraine”. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arsenij Iatseniuk’s response to this “politics” has been decided: “We will not finance Russia. Ukrainians will not spend 5 billion dollars a year so that Russia may use that money to buy weapons, tanks, aircrafts to bomb the Ukrainian territory”. Even the annexation of Crimea has violated a complex balance between Ukraine and Russia on the gas question and has triggered the need for a political and juridical clarification of the contract framework between the two Countries. Appeals to prayer and fasting. In deep shock for the situation in Ukraine the Churches invoke peace through the force of fasting and prayer. With a powerful initiative Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill sent a letter to the entire Russian Orthodox world asking them to prayer for peace in Ukraine. “I address myself to all those in decision-making positions. Cease this bloodshed! Commit yourselves in carrying out true negotiations for the establishment of justice and peace! There can be no winner in civil war, there can be no political advantages that are worth more than people’s lives”. Also the bishops of the Synod of Ukraine’s Greek-Catholic Church call upon the faithful and all men of good will to engage in prayer and fasting for peace and for the country’s unity. In particular, they promote a chain of prayer and fasting in parishes, monasteries and seminars, ask everyone to join them, every day of the week, at 21 hrs. “Our Christian conscience tells us not to give up. We must continue with our fasting and prayer. In this difficult moment for our nation, we call upon you to pray the Lord for victory over external aggressions and for peace in our land”.
President Poroshenko willing to offer a blanket pardon. But the strife is ongoing