Interfax : Russian patriarch appeals to Putin, Poroshenko over Ukraine conflict

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – July 27, 2015)

Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia Kirill has written letters to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine expressing deep concern over events in eastern Ukraine, privately-owned Interfax news agency reported on 27 July.

“Reaching the peace agreements in Minsk put the escalation of the conflict on hold and inspired hope for a full ceasefire between the warring sides. Unfortunately, hostilities, although not on the previous scale, are continuing to this day. Blood is being shed in Ukraine and people are dying,” the patriarch said in his letter ahead of the 1000th anniversary of the death of Prince Vladimir, who is credited with turning Russia Christian.

“The elderly, children and disabled people are particularly vulnerable. Not everyone has the strength or opportunity to leave their homes. Not everyone, unfortunately, survives in these terrible conditions. Someone dies under fire, someone from hunger and illness, from lack of medicines and basic living conditions,” he said.

He noted that the Russian Orthodox Church is doing what it can to help those affected on both sides of the conflict, adding that the safety of the region’s civilian population can only be ensured “by the complete cessation of hostilities, strict observance of the Minsk agreements and establishing direct dialogue between all sides of the conflict”.