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Ukraine: appeal from Apostolic Nuncio Claudio Gugerotti, “Let us do for Ukrainian children what we did for Chernobyl’s”

“Ukrainian children absolutely need to see another world, a world without the daily sound of gunshots, a world where people do not hide in fear under the bed at the first noise”. It is for these children that the Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Mgr. Claudio Gugerotti, appealed, to Italy in particular, to show greater solidarity, by inviting children living in war-torn areas in Eastern Ukraine for a limited time, or for one-week holiday. In a phone interview with SIR following his visit to the cities of Avdiivka and Sviatohirsk, the Nuncio put forward the idea that we should do for the children affected by the Ukrainian conflict what we also did for Chernobyl’s children some years ago. “I turn to Italian families in particular”, the Nuncio said. “Please, invite these children, giving them the opportunity to leave this nightmarish environment at least for a short time. Let us do as we did for Chernobyl. All it would take would be to set up a dedicated service. Children are no threat to anyone, we could propose something, even just a week at Easter…”. The Nuncio paid a visit to the children who were given safe accommodation in Sviatohirsk, away from the conflict. “They seem serene and keep one another company. But the traumas they experienced are visible in other circumstances, when they return to their families and they are not engaged in their communities. Hence, we are still unable to assess the psychological impact of such traumas. Despite the Minsk agreements – the Nuncio stated – the fighting in Ukraine has never stopped and people are exhausted. “They have been living in this unstable situation for more than two years and they cannot cope anymore”, Mgr. Gugerotti said. “People are almost unable to react. Families are divided, displaced to different areas. And there are also many people who cannot leave their homes either because they have no means, or because they are isolated, sick or old… They have to survive on a loaf of bread and some tea, with temperatures plummeting to 16/17 °C below zero. It is outrageous to see these kinds of deaths in Europe. A teacher, for instance, burst into tears in front of her pupils and myself, saying: ‘Please, tell the Pope to do all he can to free us from this pointless and absurd war”.

 

 

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