Tonight we speak with the leader of around 10% of the Ukraine’s population; his Beatitude Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. The Archbishop has been visiting Ukrainian Catholic communities throughout Australia.

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Archbishop Shevchuck leads the largest of the Catholic church’s non-Latin Rites. Among with Maronites, Chaldeans, Melkites, Syrio-Malabarese (and many other 30 million odd members of the 22 non-Latin rites) the Ukrainian Catholics form the single largest unit of Eastern and Antiochian Catholics. They retain married clergy as they have always have had; and retain other distinctive traditions of their ancient church- one found from Byzantium a millenium ago.

Shevchuck says he wants Moscow “to recognise the dignity of the Ukrainian people, and open a sincere dialogue based on truth”. He speaks in union with the majority of the Ukraine’s Orthodox Christians too, who are highly critical of Moscow’s stance.

Putin biographer Masha Gessen says President Putin is engaged in a war of civilizations with the West. She says in Putin’s view, spiritual, conservative, holy Russia is locked in a battle with the ‘homo-fascist West’, and that Kiev is the ‘centre of this homofascism’. Her reading is that the conflict in Ukraine is just a flashpoint in a much broader struggle.

Radio ABC Sunday Night.