Former Ukrainian President Yanokovich left Ukraine and crisis is now striking the country. Ukrainian Orthodox Church Primate Metropolitan Antony told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he does not think NATO should send military forces to Ukraine because it would not be worth the consequences of the devastation that it would cause.
Antony said that he has been hearing distress coming through the news from Ukraine. He said that Ukrainian people in the United States have been contacting relatives in the Ukraine but they are not getting a sense of the real experience. Antony said that he has had contact with the leaders of the churches in Ukraine and with individuals in the government and there is a great feeling of fear and disaster that is all coming quickly and without the slightest bit of provocation.
“Throughout all of the events that have taken place in Ukraine over the past several months, I don’t believe that I have ever heard of one single incident where anyone was oppressed or repressed because they were Russian speaking or they were from the eastern part of Ukraine,” Antony said.
Antony said that Yanokovich and the opposition had come to an agreement and that plan was going to be executed when Yanokovich left town and no one knew where he was. Ukraine was left without a president and there was nothing left for the Ukrainian parliament to use to try to set up some type of government to run the country, Antony said.
“We do not accept that any armies would be in the Ukraine from the west because that would only put more damage on the Ukrainian people. We just want our government and our president and the members of our Congress in collaboration with the other countries. I can’t see military force being an option. Ukraine is not a member of NATO and I don’t believe there is a right for NATO forces to interfere in the nation when it isn’t a part of NATO. I think military action is something that could devastate the Ukraine. It simply would not be worth what the consequences would be,” Antony said.
Antony said that the church is responding by contacting representatives of the government and by issuing a statement on its website asking for the faithful to call their representatives in Congress and their local state legislators. They also reached out to other Orthodox churches, Christian churches and non-Christian churches asking them to use their god given authority to speak out on behalf of the people of Ukraine and speak out against what is an illegal and immoral attack on an independent nation, Antony said.
The message Antony said he has for the people in Ukraine is, “Keep the faith. You have been through so many more cataclysms than this throughout your history and cataclysms that you should not have been able to endure but you did. We pray that they are able to maintain the faith that they have always had and maintain their self identity and understand that at one time or another that this will all come to an end and they will be able move on and become productive citizens of their own nation.”