caption: Ukrainian archbishop on nuclear risk (source: YouTube, Catholic News Service)

The raid on and appropriation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Russian forces could lead to an ecological disaster 10 times worse than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych (Ukraine).

In a video message recently released, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said the attack should be a cause of concern for the world, especially for those “who care for the environment, those who care for the ecological awareness of humanity.”

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He urged it was necessary to do everything to stop this war, declaring: “This is not only becoming a humanitarian catastrophe before our very eyes. It is an irreversible attack on God’s creation that for decades, for centuries, will be impossible to correct.”

Watch Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk’s powerful message

Catholics across Europe are joining Archbishop Shevchuk in praying for peace and expressing their continued support in union with the Ukrainian people.

At his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis announced that two Vatican officials – Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski and Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny – would be sent as papal envoys for the Ukraine crisis. “The Holy See is willing to do everything to put itself in the service of peace,” Pope Francis said, bemoaning that “in Ukraine, rivers of blood and tears are flowing.”

Sharing Pope Francis’ feelings of anguish and concern, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union,  also expressed his sentiments: “I am deeply worried by the…escalating military actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, opening up the alarming scenario of an armed conflict causing horrific human suffering, death and destruction. Today, peace on the whole European continent and beyond is facing a serious threat.”

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo (Myanmar) also voiced his concern: “The nightmare scenario of a global nuclear holocaust is frighteningly becoming a possibility,” he said in a statement.

“The massive attacks on Ukraine and the impending threat of use of weapons of mass destruction have brought the world to the threshold of self-annihilation. The heart-wrenching scenes of Ukraine attacks have shocked the world. This has to stop.”

Laudato Si’ Movement has also joined Pope Francis and the global Catholic Church in praying for a peaceful and swift resolution to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and will be hosting an event on 9 March to pray for peace in Ukraine and  reflect on the relationship between fossil fuels and war. Join Give Peace a Chance.

More on Ukraine:

  • Read the Laudato Si’ Movement EU Taxonomy Statement