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Ukrainian Catholic leader: EU integration can help preserve independence from Russia

July 13, 2016

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that Ukraine should continue to pursue integration into European political structures in order to prevent the nation’s absorption by Russia.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who leads the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See, said that “we can remain a free and independent country and confront the threat of assimilation in the East only when we become a truly valuable member of the family of European nations,” according to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine.

“The Russian state leaders denied the existence of the Ukrainian nation as such, its culture, identity, and thus denied its right to exist as a separate state,” he added, in a reference to its absorption into the Soviet Union from 1922 until 1991. “If Ukraine and we as a nation will be absorbed by this community, this Eurasian space, we risk disappearing as a people, as a nation, as a culture.”

 
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