CZYTAĆ LEONIÓR (WASP) — Darko Popczuk, leader of the RNDO and chairman of the Galician High Council, has been shot yesterday at 17:36 while campaigning for his party. Popczuk was delivering a speech to the people of Czytać Leoniór on the Owięta Liwartacie in front of the Teatr Grędzi, when suddenly four shots were heard. In front of the entire audience and the cameras of RRiTH, Popczuk collapsed instantly. Immediately after he had been hit, several members of his staff surrounded him in order to protect him from any further bullets. When those did not come, they quickly pulled him into a police car and drove off to the nearest hospital.
As it turned out later, two bullets hit Popczuk in his right arm and one in his left lung. The fourth bullet missed, only hitting the opera's announcement board. According to his doctors, his state is critical. “Mr. Popczuk is still unconscious”, one of them told our reporter early this morning, “but there is hope. We do all that lies within our possibilities to save him.”
Right after the incident had happpened, panic broke out among those who were attending the meeting, mostly Ruthenes. People started running over each other to reach their safe homes; several people got hurt in the pandemonium, although no one was injured seriously.
The shooter, 20 years old Tomasz Walęcinik, tried to seize the occasion and escape the scene. He could be arrested by the police of Czytać Leoniór. His motives have not officially been revealed, but there is strong evidence that Walęcinik, a geology student at the University of Czytać Leoniór, is a member of “Jewnia Galicja”, the militant youth branch of “Nostra Galicja”. If so, it was probably ukrainophobia that guided him. Popczuk, the immensely popular leader of the RNDO, was the main instigator of the referendum for Galician-Volhynian unification two years ago. In December 2004, he withdrew his party from the coalition that supported the Sacz government, because the latter refused to intervene in the chaos in Volhynia, almost causing its downfall.
Nostra Galicja's chairman Jędrzej Jekła-Sasiny denies any involvement of his organisation. “Why would we want to kill Popczuk?”, he said. “This whole incident works more to the advantage of the RNDO itself, doesn't it? Apparently, this is the only way left for them to acquire some sympathy among the population. That is the pitiful truth. Any Ukrainian could have fired those bullets, but certainly it was not us.” However, Jekła-Sasiny would not regret Popczuk's death. “With all the hatred he has been spreading against the Venedic population here, I can't say I feel sorry for him. He doesn't deserve any better.”
During the last few weeks, Galicia has increasingly been the scene of riots and ethnic strife between Veneds and Ruthenes. It can be expected that the assault on Popczuk will only sharpen the centuries old antagonism between both nations. Iryna Korowko, Popczuk's temporary replacement as chairperson of the Galician High Council for the duration of the latter's incapacition, said it unambiguously: “If it is true that Darko Popczuk was shot by Nostra Galicja, then we have a civil war here in Galicia. Heinous acts like this can never go unpunished!”
Chancellor Aldendorf has strongly condemned the action and in the name of the two entire nations expressed the hope that Popczuk will soon recover. In a first reaction, he told the press: “So soon after the violent deaths of two of the world's most eminent leaders and the death of one of our own greatest sportsmen... I find it both sad and very alarming. Who would have expected that things like these can happen on the safe soil of our own beloved territory?”
The Sejm in Warsina will convene in an emergency meeting today to discuss the situation. It remains to be seen what impact Popczuk's eventual death would have on the outcome of the elections for the Venedic Sejm next Sunday, should he die of his wounds.