Baltimore, Md., Aug 9, 2018 / 16:00 pm
Four years of fighting in eastern Ukraine have led to "the biggest humanitarian crisis on the European continent since the end of the Second World War," according to the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv called on the international community and the Catholic Church not to neglect the crisis in Ukraine. He made the plea during his keynote address at the Knights of Columbus convention in Baltimore on August 7.
Since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the Ukrainian conflict has taken the lives of more than 10,000 people and has left 1.6 million people displaced, according to the United Nations.
"Besides all these casualties and human tragedies, there is still another hidden danger of the war in eastern Ukraine: This region is at risk of suffering a dire, long-lasting ecological catastrophe due to flooded mines and contaminated drinking water, which is comparable in scale to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster of 1986," warned the archbishop.
"As many as 4 million people might be left without safe drinking water in the region," he continued, "all of this is happening right now, in Ukraine, the largest country in Europe."