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Vatican does not consider conflict in eastern Ukraine ‘civil clash,' Holy See envoy says

The archbishop recalled that thanks to Pope Francis, the Vatican took specific action to provide aid via the Pope for Ukraine humanitarian program

THE VATICAN, December 4. /TASS/. The Vatican fully supports the implementation of the agreements on settlement in eastern Ukraine, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Paul Richard Gallagher said in an exclusive interview for TASS, adding that the Holy See does not consider this conflict a simple "civil clash."

"As for the situation in Ukraine, the Holy See supports the implementation of the achieved agreements and the activity of all involved sides. The Holy See refrains from public accusations of involved sides. But it does not mean that it does accept the interpretations of the interested sides. The Holy See also does not consider it right to call the conflict in Eastern Ukraine a civil clash," the hierarch said.

He noted that Vatican values any attempts, aimed at the establishment of peace. Gallagher recalled that thanks to Pope Francis, the Vatican took specific action to provide aid via the Pope for Ukraine humanitarian program.

"This interest and participation of the Holy See seek to encourage and inspire various sides, involved in the peace process to take all efforts for prompt return to the much desired peace," the Vatican envoy said.

He underscored that all Catholic churches (the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo), besides its pastoral mission, "provide aid and support to the entire population, regardless of its national, religious or other identity."

Gallagher noted that the Holy See believes that any aid and intervention must not replace the efforts of the sides to find a way out of conflicts themselves.

"Only assistance in achieving the agreement is possible. Any direct involvement of the Holy See in the negotiations is possible only if the participants of this process ask for it," Gallagher explained.

"Roots of civil conflicts are different in every country. They mostly emerge from inequality, violations of the social order, corruption, economic problems and lack of faith in the political regime. In any case, the diplomacy of the Holy See, led by the Pope, with the support of the local Catholic churches, advocates peaceful expression of all civil demands and search for solutions via negotiations and with respect of human rights and the law. In case of conflicts, the Holy See is first and foremost concerned over the display of violence," the archbishop said.