Taiwan pledges US$1.2 million to help Ukrainian churches

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Friday pledged that Taiwan would donate US$1.2 million to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to help rebuild churches that have been damaged by ongoing Russian attacks.

Wu pledged the donation during a video call with Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, on Friday, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) press release.

Some US$700,000 will come from funds left over from the US$33 million donated for Ukraine by private citizens in Taiwan earlier this year, and the other US$500,000 will be drawn from MOFA’s foreign aid budget, the statement said.

The donation will help Ukraine rebuild the churches that have been destroyed by the Russian shelling, Wu said.

The announcement came less than a week after Western media cited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as saying on June 4 that some 113 churches in the country had been either damaged or destroyed by Russian attacks.

During his meeting with the Ukrainian religious leader, whose secular name is Serhii Petrovych Dumenko, Wu praised him for working with local churches to shelter Ukrainians since the country was invaded by Russia on Feb. 24.

Metropolitan Epiphanius thanked Taiwan for its direct assistance, according to the MOFA statement.

He said it was widely known in Ukraine that Taiwan has provided donations to six Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, and seven medial institutions across the country, according to the statement.

The archbishop was referring to the donations drawn from a fundraising campaign organized by Taiwan’s government, which raised a total of US$33 million from the public from March 2 to April 1.

According to MOFA, the US$33 million in funds have all been pledged to various sectors in Ukraine and its neighboring countries helping take in displaced Ukrainians.

MOFA added that it will soon make public how those funds have been used.

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