Russian bombing of Syria “defensive” and just, top cleric says

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, January 7, 2016)

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has expressed support for the Russian military operation in Syria.

“What is happening today in Syria, which appears to be far away but is in actual fact literally our neighbour [as received], is what the defence of the Fatherland is about,” the patriarch said in the interview to be shown on [official state] television channel Rossiya 1 (VGTRK) on Thursday [7 January].

If terrorism wins in Syria, “it will have a very good chance if not of winning then at least of marring the life of our people a great deal, of bringing misery and adversity,” the primate said.

“This war is therefore a defensive one – it is not so much a war as pinpoint strikes. And yet it is our people’s involvement in military operations, and as long as this war is defensive, it is just,” he said confidently.

According to Christianity, “military operations are justified when they defend the individual, society and the state,” the patriarch said.

“Moreover, we all know very well what terrible ills terrorism brings. Our people have gone through terrible trials – Beslan, Volgograd, one cannot list everything. We have been seared by this pain, we know what it is. And what about our plane that was shot down over Sinai [as received; the official Russian version is now that the flight was destroyed on 31 October by a bomb on board]? Therefore everything that is happening is a defensive response. In this sense we can safely speak of a just struggle,” he stressed.

Besides, the patriarch said, Russia participates through its actions in saving those living in Syria and the Middle East in general, including Christians.

[featured image is file photo]