Attack on Ukraine labelled ‘act of great evil’ by Church leaders

On February 24, Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine, with the move condemned by senior figures globally.

24 February 2022

The attack launched on Ukraine has been labelled “an act of great evil” by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

On Thursday morning, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would be conducting a military operation in eastern Ukraine, with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, declaring martial law.

The news of the “unprovoked attack” has been condemned by Church of England leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell.

In a joint statement, they said: “The horrific and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is an act of great evil.

“Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces.

“We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long-term agreements for stability and lasting peace.”

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell (left) with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Yui Mok/PA)
The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell (left) with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Yui Mok/PA)

They encouraged Christians to make Sunday February 27 “a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia and for peace”.

They added: “We also give our support to the call from Pope Francis for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday, March 2.”

Pope Francis urged his followers to pray “intensively”, adding: “May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the move made by Russia was a “catastrophe for our continent”.

So far, around 40 people have died in Ukraine, according to an adviser to Ukraine’s president.

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