The Ukrainian nationalists delivered a political ultimatum to the Catholic metropolitan in the Lviv region.
The Ukrainians have been watching the conflict between the radical nationalists of Right Sector and representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate for many years. As it turned out, this “fight” was not enough for the radicals and they tried to open “second front”. This time, the victims of their attack were the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine.
For example, the other day, two prominent nationalists, Right Sector leader in Lviv Taras Bobanich and his colleague from the “National Corps” Stepan Viniar, visited the Metropolitan Mechislav Mokshitsky in Lviv. Our readers might have heard about this spiritual leader of the Ukrainian Catholics in connection with the well-known events surrounding the return of the churches buildings to the Roman Catholic Church that are not used by the Uniates. In this story, Mokshitsky proved to be a “hard nut” capable of defending the interests of his flock. Perhaps, that is why the radical nationalists decided to “chew on” him firstly.
Both guests of the metropolitan are well known in narrow circles as aggressive supporters of intimidating acts of “direct action”. Bobanich has been the head of the Right Sector’s power unit in the region since 2013. He took part in combat operations in the Donbass and was seen among the active supporters of the Kiev march dedicated to the SS division Galicia. No less brutal is Stepan Viniar, a veteran of the anti-terrorist operation, the head of “Azov” state unit, and the organizer of the torch march in memory of Roman Shukhevich. These two “patriots” broke into Mechislav Mokshitsky’s cell.
According to information that leaked to the press, the formal reason for the visit to the metropolitan was his involvement in a propaganda campaign against supporters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The ultimatum was given to Mokshitsky — he was obliged to begin the work with the Catholic flock in order to create a negative image of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the region. If he refused, the Nazis threatened the metropolitan with blocking the Catholic parishes and physical violence.
It is not surprising that such a statement led to a scandal. Having knowing the metropolitan’s firm character, one could immediately assume that he would not agree with such provocations. Perhaps this is what Bobanich and Viniar were counting on. By refusing to participate in the attack on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Mokshitsky involuntarily confronted the official policy of Kiev, and, thus, he actually put himself on the same board with the separatists, “traitors” and “Moskals. Now Bobanich and Viniar have a formal reason to attack Mokshitsky and the Catholic population of the region as a whole.
The nationalists have been digging into the metropolitan for a long time. Back in 2017, one of the UGCC clerics Yuri Boyko transparently hinted that Mokshitsky’s entourage allegedly supported anti-Ukrainian sentiments and cooperated with former members of the Soviet KGB. It is possible that the provocative visit to the metropolitan by the representatives of the radical nationalists is a part of a larger campaign against the Ukrainian Catholics.
Metropolitan Mokshitsky, who regularly calls on Nazis to repent for the Volhynia massacre, may become the first victim of the radicals. If in 2017 they only burned his portraits, now it may not stop there. After branding the metropolitan as an “agent of Moscow”, the threat of physical reprisal is becoming more real. After all, it is one thing to fight against Mokshitsky as an ethnic Pole and promoter of Polish interests, and quite another to attack the ally of “aggressor from the East”.
Having understanding this, the representatives of the Catholic Church hastened to officially deny that Mokshitsky met with Bobanic and Viniar, probably hoping that the conflict would resolve itself. The last one seems unlikely, especially given the context of this event. The nationalist sentiments require the additional nourishment under the conflict in Donbass. If the population cannot be rallied by “Russian threat”, so why not recall another “ancient enemy of Ukraine” — the Poles. It is obvious that the country will not pull off a hybrid war on two fronts.
Apparently, the modern Kiev cannot stand up to the Moscow archer and the Polish winged hussar. But the local nationalists probably don’t care about it. They act according to the scheme “pick a battle, and then we’ll see”. The only question is whether the unity of Ukraine can withstand such a “battle”.