Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Holy See Tetiana Izhevska has expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for his personal attention and concern about the crisis in Eastern Ukraine and his continued appeals for peace and dialogue to resolve the conflict there. Ambassador Izhevska also speaks about her government’s views on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and says Kiev believes the situation remains very dangerous with a high risk of a direct Russian invasion. Her comments came in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio’s Mario Galgano.
Ambassador Izhevska says her nation is “very grateful” for Pope Francis’ “continued appeals for peace” and “to promote dialogue” as a way of resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine. She said his “personal attention to this problem” is of particular importance to her nation. The ambassador described the Pope’s prayers and appeals for peace in Ukraine as “a great sign of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
Turning specifically to the conflict in eastern Ukraine where there is fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists, Ambassador Izhevska describes the situation there as remaining “extremely dangerous”. “Russia,” she declares, “is fighting an undeclared war on Ukraine” through its armed support for the pro-Russian rebels.
She also says she believes that the threat of a Russian invasion into eastern Ukraine cannot be ruled out. “”The probability of a direct Russian invasion is still high.” At the same time, according to the ambassador, “it’s evident that economic sanctions remain the only efficient tool to influence Russian behaviour.”