Concern is growing about the continuing deadly unrest in Ukraine. Protestors and police have clashed repeatedly since November.The violence has escalated in recent days in the capital Kiev and across the country.
Church staff have sought to mediate between the two sides. Caritas Ukraine is also assisting people where it can.
Caritas Ukraine’s Executive Director, Andrij Waskowycz, says that there needs to be a road map to solve the crisis peacefully.
“There is a deadlock,” he said. “There is no trust between the parties. We are trying to find mediators. We hope it will be resolved through dialogue.”
He says the issues are corruption, lack of accountability, a breakdown in the rule of law and the future of democratic rule. Caritas Ukraine has also condemned the excessive use of force by the government, including the detention of protestors.
“The protestors are not against the government, they are for basic rights and principles,” said Andrij Waskowycz.
Caritas Ukraine is able to operate, providing support to the elderly and people living with HIV and AIDS. Caritas Ukraine has set up aid points to help with the severe cold, especially for the homeless. Caritas also helps with migrants living abroad so they can return to the Ukraine.
But that work could be under threat.
“The demonstrations affect the whole of civil society,” said Andrij Waskowycz. “A 16 January law declared that all organisations receiving foreign donations are agents of a foreign power. This was an attempt to discredit civil society.
“This law also affects Church organisations. There have been threats against church leaders. They’re perceived as too big and too independent.”