25 May 2017
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The Ukrainian Crisis

Ukrainian elections, settling scores with history, listening to Solzhenitsyn
The favorite for the presidency is the tycoon and former oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who has worked with Timoshenko and later Janoukovich . The urgent need to begin a dialogue with Russia and propose some form of autonomy for the Ukrainian regions . The prophecy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on resurgent nationalism . Putin must negotiate with the outgoing president , after bravado over the Crimea .

Scandal erupts between Moscow and Kiev: Metropolitan Hilarion "persona non grata" in Ukraine
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate was refused entry at the border. Protest of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs : "A provocative and unprecedented act". The Metropolitan of Odessa leaves town.

East Ukraine chooses independence and waits for Moscow’s acknowledgment
The preliminary results of the "referendum" show 89% vote "yes" and a turnout of over 75 %. The Kremlin must now express its position. Voting also took place in a polling station in Moscow, an implicit signal of Russian support despite Putin 's appeal for a postponement .

Concerned about weapons supplies, Putin halts referendum, supports Ukraine
The Russian president also announced that he is pulling troops from the borders, a claim not confirmed by an independent verification. Moscow's dependence on Ukrainian-made weapons appears to be behind Putin's change of heart. Russia is in fact Ukraine's fourth largest weapons export market. About 80 per cent of Russian nuclear warheads need parts made in the Ukraine.

Odessa is not the Crimea: this war is about Europe
Clashes continue between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian forces in the east of the country. Moscow declares a "humanitarian catastrophe" and the risks to peace in Europe; Kiev blames "terrorists" for trying to overthrow the government. No one understands that the Ukrainian people are trying to affirm themselves, while the international community fumbles from a distance.

Ukraine, OECD observers released: all in good health
The group - made up of 7 foreigners and 5 Ukrainians – had been held by pro-Russian separatist militias in the eastern part of the country for a week. The release took place "without conditions": the observers are in good condition. Moscow blames Kiev for Odessa violence, which resulted in approximately 40 deaths, and announces: "We no longer have any influence over the separatists".

Ukrainian crisis: G7 announces new sanctions against Russia
The countries of the group express "deep concern at the continued attempts by pro-Russian separatists to destabilize Eastern Ukraine". The measures take effect on April 28. Meanwhile, 13 OSCE international observers are still in the hands of pro-Russian militias, accused of being spies .

Fear of freedom is killing the future of Russia
Serghei Chapnin , director of the "Moscow Patriarchate Journal" speaks to AsiaNews about the challenges of contemporary Russian society and the contribution that Christianity can give to a real "moral change" in the country .

Obama calls Putin over Ukraine; Orthodox Church warns against separatism
Tension rises in the south-east of the former Soviet republic, while Moscow rejects accusations of interference. Metropolitan Atony of Boryspil and Brovary : we asked our priests to be patriots and not allow separatism to spread.

Russian schools to teach new course on Crimean "reunification"
The topic is not yet in history books, but schools are already teaching kids about how the region was "donated" to the Ukraine in 1954, when the two countries were still part of the Soviet Union. A teacher complains about student "brainwashing".

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church urges Putin to prevent war and the country's division
Metropolitan Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate talks about a message personally written by the Church's pro temp head Onufry to the Russian president. As Kyiv launches an anti-terrorist operation against pro-Russian groups in the east, Russia warns against "civil war."

For Metropolitan Hilarion, Ukraine crisis ended preparations for meeting between pope and patriarch
According to the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, the two sides were working on preparations last fall, but the actions of the Greek-Catholic Church during Maidan Square protests Maidan "have thrown us much back".

Moscow Patriarchate slams Ukrainian Catholic 'Uniates' for "meddling" in politics and taking a pro-West stance
Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for External Church Relations, slams Catholic Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv for his positions. He also says he asked the Holy See for explanations. Diplomacy is faltering over the religious divisions.

Crimea annexation frightens Patriarch of Moscow
Kirill not present for Putin's great speech to the Duma. While Russia follows in the footsteps of the empire of Ivan the Terrible, the Orthodox Churches of Ukraine are pushed towards autonomy by Moscow. The Moscow Patriarchate risks being a minority in the next pan-Orthodox Council.

Editor's choices

Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan

During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.

May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium

Bernardo Cervellera

The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.


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