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Threats to peace: Bishops of Ukraine and Poland call for dialogue. “Russia disregards international law”

“It is with concern that we learn the news that the recent talks between Russia and the West have not led to an agreement”, the Catholic Bishops of Poland and Ukraine wrote in a statement today, calling for urgent dialogue and recalling that “the occupation of Donbas and Crimea has shown that the Russian Federation —in its violation of Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity— disregards the binding rules of international law”. Recalling the tragedies caused by totalitarian regimes in the 20th century, the Bishops stressed that “in the name of false ideologies, whole nations were condemned to annihilation”, “human dignity was violated” and “the exercise of political power was reduced to violence alone”. The appeal, signed by the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Mgr. Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Mgr. Stanislaw Gądecki, the Acting President of the Ukrainian Bishops’ Conference, Mgr. Mieczysław Mokrzycki, and by other prelates, underlines that “the quest for alternatives to war in resolving international conflicts has become an urgent necessity, since the terrifying power of the means of destruction are now in the hands of even medium and small powers, and the increasingly strong ties existing between the peoples of the whole earth make it difficult, if not practically impossible, to limit the effects of any conflict”. To support the appeal, the President of the Polish Bishops, Mgr. Gądecki, has announced a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine to be held in the whole Polish Church on Wednesday, 26 January.

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