Ukraine archbishop condemns Putin’s ‘war of total annihilation’

ROME – Ukraine’s Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk on Friday condemned “Russia’s attack on our homeland,” calling for continued resistance to unjust “occupiers.”

“Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting” and “Ukraine is bleeding,” Bishop Shevchuk said in a video message, while reporting on the “very heavy and bloody battles” unfolding in eastern Ukraine, in the Luhansk region, east of the Kharkiv region, in the Donetsk region, and near the “martyr city of Mariupol”.

“We see more and more that this war is, in fact, a war of total annihilation,” the archbishop insisted. “We see how our occupiers, those who take towns and villages, abuse the civilian population.”

Along with its direct attacks on civilians, Russia “is trying to destroy in advance the railway lines, the roads on which people could be evacuated from dangerous areas”, he added.

Russian forces “seized and confiscated for their needs the humanitarian cargo that our volunteers were trying to deliver” to people in need, he noted, including those “on the brink of starvation”.

In his message, Shevchuk reported that he had personally visited “the tragically infamous city of Bucha, which is an open wound on the body of Ukraine”, where he witnessed “the open mass grave” and the “lifeless body”.

A woman walks among destroyed Russian tanks in Bucha, on the outskirts of kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

As Christians, loving your neighbor means feeling connected to him, the archbishop said, and realizing that “where he lies in the common grave, I could have been buried there as well.”

It also means that all Christians, in solidarity with those who suffer unjustly, must be one with Ukraine today, he said.

Therefore, “every Christian, no matter where he lives on earth, whether Italian, German or Australian, seeing the atrocities of the occupiers in Bucha, says today, ‘I am Ukrainian,'” he said. said.

Because of the unity of our human race with these innocent victims, “the occupier is waging war against you and me, to put us in this common grave tomorrow”, he added.

In this case, loving your enemy “means stopping his murderous hand, taking away his weapon, not giving him the opportunity to kill,” he said.

In his address, the Archbishop ended with a prayer, asking for God’s protection for the Ukrainian people.

“O God, stop the aggressor, stop this war and give life to your people. Bless our Ukrainian army! Bless our country! he said.

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