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Caritas Internationalis mourns the death of two Caritas staff in Mariupol. “It is urgent to stop the indiscriminate massacre of civilians”

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“This dramatic news leaves our Caritas family horrified and shocked. We join in grief and solidarity with the suffering of the families and our colleagues of Caritas Ukraine who are living a tragedy”. With these words, the Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, Aloysius John, expresses the sorrow of the Confederation to the news of the death of two female staff members of Caritas Ukraine Mariupol.

It has been known only in the past few hours, but the tragic attack probably took place on the 15th of March, when a tank fired shots at the building of the Caritas centre in Mariupol, killing two staff members and five of their relatives. At this point of time, due to the absence of communication with the city of Mariupol as well as the lack of access to the premises of the Caritas centre, our Caritas Ukraine national office is still collecting information to determine what happened. It is presumed the two Caritas staff members, together with their families, took refuge in the centre during the time of the shelling attack.

The president of Caritas Ukraine, Tetiana Stawnychy, asks for special attention to be given to the memory of the victims: “We need your solidarity and prayers for the families of the victims, for the community of Caritas Mariupol, and the community of Caritas Ukraine.”

“Caritas Internationalis reiterates its incessant appeal for peace, as we have been doing for 48 days now. The ‘martyrdom’ in Ukraine – as Pope Francis has called it – must stop, and it must stop now. The international community must do the impossible to stop this massacre immediately. Peace must be given a chance. Armed conflict and violence are not the solution. Human lives must be safeguarded and human dignity upheld. Safety of civilians must be ensured,” adds John.

Caritas organisations also condemn the widespread violation of international humanitarian law in several areas of Ukraine. Since the beginning of the conflict, the two Caritas organisations present in Ukraine – Caritas Ukraine and Caritas-Spes Ukraine – have stood by the people and so far, with the cooperation of the Caritas Confederation, have provided around 600,000 people with lifesaving humanitarian assistance. Caritas organisations in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries continue to provide life-saving assistance to the population in the country and to refugees fleeing the war.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General, Aloysius John, says the Confederation are deeply grateful to all Caritas workers and volunteers who continue unceasingly to serve people in need, even at the risk of their own lives.