Russian patriarch Kirill urges military to avoid civilian casualties


Eastern Europe


Russian patriarch Kirill and Russian Defence minister Sergei Shoigu (r.). Photo AFP, Igor Palkin

Kirill, the Russian patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, urges all parties to avoid civilian casualties in the Russian conflict with Ukraine.

In a statement, he addresses Hierarchs, clergy, and believers. The patriarch says that he "as the Patriarch of All Russia and the Primate of the Church, whose flock is in Russia, Ukraine and other countries" empathises with everyone "touched by misfortune."

Furthermore, Kirill requests the parties of the conflict to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and provide "all possible assistance to all victims, including refugees, people left without shelter and livelihood." Furthermore, he calls the entire Russian Orthodox Church to pray fervently for the "speedy restoration of peace."

Yet, the patriarch does not explicitly mention the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Orthodox Times writes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday morning, Russian news agency Ria.ru reports. In his address on television, he told the Russians that the "people's republics of Donbas turned to Russia with a request for help." He added that all bloodshed that would take place would be the responsibility of the Ukrainian government.

According to Ria.ru, the Russian Defense Ministry emphasised that the Russian Armed Forces did not carry out missile, air or artillery strikes on Ukrainian cities. It also asserted that civilians were not in danger.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew condemns invasion

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is shocked by the invasion of the Russian troops, Orthodox Times reports. The patriarch phoned Metropolitan Epiphanios, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. During the call, he expressed his deep sorrow about the "blatant violation of any notion of international law and legality." He also says that he supports the Ukrainian people struggling "for God and country" and the families of innocent victims.

Patriarch Bartholomew, furthermore, states that he prays to God to enlighten the leadership of the Russian Federation to understand the "tragic consequences of its actions."

He calls national leaders, European organisations and international institutes to work for a peaceful settlement through dialogue. He also requests everyone to pray unceasingly for the Ukrainian people and peace in their country.



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