Editor’s note: reasonable Catholics will disagree on this complex situation. Therefore OnePeterFive will consider submissions from a variety of authors to address the situation as long as they are pious and supported by evidence.
“Men will not accept truth at the hands of their enemies, and truth is seldom offered to them by their friends: for this very reason I have spoken it.” As a professional historian who has written on Russia for more than 30 years, I hereby make this quote from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America my own. As we teeter closer to the brink of World War III than at any time in almost forty years, only the truth will set us free—no matter how painful that truth.
Let us start by cutting through the media misinformation/mass formation psychosis over the Russian invasion depicting Zelensky/Ukraine as the hero and Putin/Russia as the villain.
The truth is, the immediate origin of this conflict can be traced back exactly one year ago, on March 19, 2021, when Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council had approved a strategy aimed at retaking Crimea and “reintegrating the strategically important peninsula.” President Zelensky went so far as to announce:
A new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to improve the efficiency of the international response to the occupation of Crimea, respond to growing security challenges, step up international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupying power and to achieve the de-occupation of Crimea and its return to Ukraine.
Including the port city of Sevastopol—the home of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet!
Needless to say, this was taken by Russia to be tantamount to a declaration of war.
Now doubtless, it will be objected that in 2014 Russia itself invaded and “stole” the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, so Zelensky’s regime had every right to threaten to take it back.
But the fact of the matter is that an official referendum was held on March 16, 2014, by the people of Crimea and in the local government of Sevastopol. The referendum asked the voters whether “they wanted to join Russia as a federal subject, or if they wanted to restore the 1992 Crimean constitution and Crimea’s status as a part of Ukraine.” The official result was a 97 percent vote for integration into the Russian Federation with an 83 percent voter turnout; in Sevastopol too, there was a 97 percent vote for reunion with Russia and an 89 percent voter turnout.
Western diplomats claimed that the presence of the Russian army made it an “unfree” election, but Gallup, who conducted a survey of Ukraine and Crimea reported in April 2014 that, “among the population of Crimea, 93.6% of ethnic Russians and 68.4% of ethnic Ukrainians believed the referendum result accurately represents the will of the Crimean people. Only 1.7% of ethnic Russians and 14.5% of ethnic Ukrainians living in Crimea thought that the referendum results didn’t accurately reflect the views of the Crimean people.”
In terms of the more remote origins of the war, His Excellency, Archbishop Vigano has aptly summarized the West’s decades-long provocation of the Russian bear:
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the United States has extended its sphere of political and military influence to almost all the satellite states of the former Soviet Union, even recently, annexing into NATO Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary (1999); Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania (2004); Albania and Croatia (2009); Montenegro (2017); and North Macedonia (2020). The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is preparing to expand to Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. Practically speaking, the Russian Federation is under military threat– from weapons and missile bases– just a few kilometers from its borders, while it has no military base in similar proximity to the United States. To be considering the possible expansion of NATO into Ukraine, without thinking that it will arouse Russia’s legitimate protests, is nothing short of puzzling, especially given the fact that in 1991 NATO pledged to the Kremlin not to expand further.
On April 3, 2008, at a conference in Bucharest, Romania, NATO officially declared its support for Ukraine and Georgia entering their alliance against Russia:
NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO. Both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations. We welcome the democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia and look forward to free and fair parliamentary elections in Georgia in May. MAP [membership action plan] is the next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership. Today we make clear that we support these countries’ applications for MAP. Therefore we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP applications.
Russia immediately protested, but her diplomatic warnings were repeatedly ignored.
Ultimately, the US orchestrated a coup in February 2014, ousting the pro-Russian President Yanukovych in favor of the pro-NATO Turchynov and (in May 2014) Poroshenko. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church supported this regime change, since it kept historically anti-Catholic Moscow at arms length. In May 2019, the current president, Zelensky came to power.
Zelensky is a protégé of Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum. He officially promotes sodomy, abortion, and all manner of godless and unnatural Western values. Putin’s administration, on the other hand, has outspokenly opposed the growth and spread of such inhuman soul-killing ideologies. Whether or not his statements come from Russian Orthodox piety or political expediency, opinion is divided. In any case, he has earned the ire of George Soros:
Yes, the regime in Kiev does stand with Soros and The Great Reset. Nevertheless most Ukrainian Catholics would rather have the secularizing Zelensky with a measure of religious freedom, than risk the harsh rule of Moscow… again.
As of this writing, Putin has offered Zelensky a deal. He could “end war immediately” if Ukraine agrees to 1) cease all military action, 2) institute constitutional neutrality: promising to refrain from entering NATO, 3) recognize Crimea as Russian, and 4) recognize the Russian speaking regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent.
If Zelensky and his Western puppet masters have an ounce of sanity in their minds, they will accept. This would also secure the freedom of Ukrainian Catholics from Moscow by means of Ukrainian sovereignty. In God’s Providence, Russia is ultimately destined to play a positive role, despite the historic animus of the Russian Orthodox against the Kievan Catholics. As Archbishop Vigano says:
The United States of America and the European nations should not marginalize Russia, but rather form an alliance with her, not only for the restoration of trade for the prosperity of all, but in view of the reconstruction of a Christian Civilization, which alone can save the world from the globalist[s]…
And yet, the ultimate arbiter of world peace (and the fate of Moscow and Kiev) lies with the Vicar of Christ and the bishops of the Catholic Church. This and the providential role of the Holy Virgin of Fatima will be revealed in Part Two.
Photo: bombing in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. CNA.
 Jason Melanovski, “Ukraine approves strategy to ‘recover’ Crimea, threatening all-out war with Russia,” (March 19, 2021). See also the report from Ukrinform and Eurasia Daily Monitor.
 Carol Morello; Pamela Constable; Anthony Faiola, “Crimeans vote in referendum on whether to break away from Ukraine, join Russia,” Washington Post (March 17, 2014).
 “BBG and Gallup – Newsgathering and Policy Perceptions in Ukraine” (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 26, 2019.
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as published in “Abp. Viganò: Globalists have fomented war in Ukraine to establish the tyranny of the New World Order.”
 Moscow has attempted to dominate Kiev for centuries. This conflict only intensified after the Communists took over.
Dr. EDMUND J. MAZZA offers online courses in Church and World History at www.edmundmazza.com. Dr. Mazza is the author of The Scholastics and the Jews: Coexistence, Conversion and the Medieval Origins of Tolerance from Angelico Press. Dr. Mazza is former Full Professor of History at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles where he taught for 14 years.