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Pope Francis Uncovers the Hidden and Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine

People in Need/Nikishina Ukraine CC

Diane Montagna - published on 04/19/16

How have the Ukrainian people responded?

What is amazing is that Ukrainians have demonstrated such dignity in bearing this cross. They have accepted two million emigres or refugees (internally displaced people).

To put it into perspective: Ukraine had 45 million people with Crimea and with Donbass. Without annexed Crimea and without the occupied territories that’s about 40 million people. Two million people have been accepted by 40 million. Germany has accepted 1.1 million persons, but there are 80 million Germans. However, the government budget of Germany is 45 times bigger than that of Ukraine. Europe in general has accepted 2 million, so Germany has taken half. The joint state budgets of members of the European Union who have accepted the same number of refugees as Ukraine has is 400 times as big. So Ukraine’s resources have been stretched to the max.

Ukrainians in some ways are not being heard because they have demonstrated such fortitude in the face of such hardship. Ukraine risks being forgotten, and that is why the pope made this appeal, and it has great cultural and strategic significance. People in Ukraine were dying for the traditional values of Europe. And so this struggle for God-given human dignity in Ukraine has great import for Europe.

What is Russia’s endgame?

Russian’s endgame is an empire. Without Ukraine, Russia’s not an empire. Ukraine has some of the the most fertile land in the world. I think it has one quarter of the black earth of the world. It has the best earth in the world. It has a lot of water. It has a very highly educated population.

Ukraine is a country that is being destroyed, which the pope wants to save. This is not only a humanitarian effort to help the suffering. It is also an effort to increase moral awareness in Europe, because if there isn’t a moral reaction Putin will not be forced to stop military action, so it’s an action of peace as well.

People don’t realize that Ukraine is Europe. The center of Ukraine between East and West is in Western Ukraine. And Russians are trying to do everything, including war and annexation, to keep Ukraine from being more integrated into the European community. That’s what this is all about. Because freedom of the press, democratic process, due process before the law is deadly for authoritarianism. Ukrainians, through the revolution of dignity, moved in this direction, and so they were punished by annexation and war.

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