Russian Orthodox Patriarch Calls For Peace Between Russia and Ukraine

Appeals to Presidents Vladimir Putin and Petr Poroshenko To End Bloodshed of Innocent Civilians and Engage in Dialogue

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In identical messages sent to Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Petr Poroshenko, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has called for the end to the bloodshed in Ukraine.

According to a communique by the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia expressed “deep concern over the situation in eastern Ukraine.”

“The Minsk agreements stopped the escalation of the conflict, raising hopes for the complete cease-fire between the belligerent sides. Regrettably, the hostilities, though not as large-scale as before, have been going on to this day. Blood is being shed and people are being killed in Ukraine,” he stated.

In his appeal, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church dwells on the fate of the civil population living in the zone of armed clashes.

“Old and disabled people and children are the most vulnerable group,” Patriarch Kirill wrote.

“There are people who have neither strength nor opportunities to leave their native lands. Unfortunately, not all of them survive in this terrible situation. Some of them die under artillery bombardments; others die from hunger and illnesses, and because of the lack of medicaments and necessities.”

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia highlighted the Church’s continuing efforts to aid those suffering on both sides of the conflict. He also noted the efforts of Metropolitan Onufry, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, in “seeking reconciliation and restoration of the national unity.”

Concluding his message, Patriarch Kirill appealed to both presidents to abide by strict observance of the Minsk agreements and to engage in dialogue.

The communique stated that “His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, ‘with an aching heart,’ asks Presidents of Russia and Ukraine ‘on behalf of the whole Russian Orthodox Church to exert every effort in order to stop the bloodshed.’” (J.A.E.)

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