Appeal of Ukrainian churches and religious organizations regarding foreign aggression

2014/03/02 • Op-ed

March 1, 2014 11:30 p.m.

Dear brothers and sisters!

 At this difficult time, when the military units of the Russian Federation, by breaching international and bilateral agreements, have invaded the sovereign territory of Ukraine, and the Council of the Federation as advised by the Russian President has given its consent to the use of the Russian troops in Ukraine, first and foremost we are urging all of you and all people of goodwill to unite with us in a prayer for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

We appeal to the Russian authorities to come to their senses and stop the aggression against Ukraine, immediately withdrawing its troops from Ukrainian land. The Russian authorities shall bear full responsibility before God and humanity for the irreparable consequences of further escalation of violence.

 In our country there is no harassment based on language, nation, or religion. Therefore, we attest, all attempts made by Russian propaganda to represent the events in Ukraine as a “fascist coup” and “extremists’ victory” do not correspond to reality.

 Dear brothers and sisters in Russia!

Ukrainian people have only friendly and brotherly feelings towards the Russian people. Do not believe the propaganda, which incites hatred between us. We want to continue building friendly and brotherly relations with Russia, but only as a sovereign and independent state.

We appeal to the international community, the guarantor countries of Ukraine’s security – the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the UN and the OSCE – to stop the foreign invasion of Ukraine and the heavy-handed intervention in our internal affairs! Undermining peace and stability in Ukraine threatens to destroy the entire modern system of global security. Therefore, all possible measures must be taken in order to prevent war in Ukraine.

Brothers and sisters!

Churches and religious organizations in Ukraine are with the people of Ukraine. We strongly believe that God is not in force, but in truth. The truth is on the side of the Ukrainian people, and we shall win.

May God keep you safe!

The appeal has been signed by:

  • Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate;

  • Supreme Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church;

  • Mykhailo Panochko, Senior Bishop of the Church of Evangelical Christians in Ukraine;

  • Vyacheslav Nesteruk, Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians Baptists;

  • Viktor Alekseyenko, President of the Ukrainian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church;

  • Vyacheslav Horpynchuk, Bishop of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church;

  • Leonid Padun, Senior Bishop of the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church;

  • Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine of the Union of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine.

Translated by Katherina Smirnova, edited by Robin Rohrback

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