Ukrainian Archbishop Shevchuk speaks during news conference in Rome

Crimea: now Putin comes after the Catholics

by JONATHAN LUXMOORE, CatholicHerald.co.uk  |  published on March 26, 2014


Members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church are fleeing Crimea to escape threats of arrest and property seizures, a priest has said.

“The situation remains very serious, and we don’t know what will happen — the new government here is portraying us all as nationalists and extremists,” said Father Mykhailo Milchakovskyi, a parish rector and military chaplain from Kerch, Crimea, who was speaking to the Catholic News Service just four days after Russia finalised the region’s annexation.

He said that officials from Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, had called him in for questioning about his community and to ask whether he “recognised the new order.”

Father Milchakovskyi said that he and his family and at least two-thirds of his parishioners had left Kerch for Ukrainian-controlled territory on the advice of Ukrainian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych.

“All my parishioners are patriotic Ukrainians who love their Crimean homeland. But Russia is now seeking to drive us out,” he said on Tuesday.

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