ROME — Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said Sunday there is “no safe and quiet city” in all of Ukraine because of Russia’s widespread shelling of the country.
The Ukrainian people “have been going through a heroic struggle for 88 days against the Russian aggressor, who is killing our people, burning our cities and villages, and is waging a full-scale aggressive war against our people and our state,” Archbishop Shevchuk said in a video address.
The battle front line stretches 3,000 kilometers from north to south and there are some half million combatants on both sides, the archbishop noted, making the scale of the war “unparalleled in the modern world since the end of World War II.”
The enemy is “conducting active assaults and combat operations, in particular in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” Shevchuk declared, and “continues to fire on peaceful territories in the north of our state, even from its own territory, on the other side of the Ukrainian-Russian border.”
Because of Russia’s active shelling of the territory, “there is no safe and quiet city or place in all of Ukraine,” he stated.
“But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying. Ukraine is conquering,” he said.
Ukraine is also “witnessing to the truth,” the archbishop observed. “Not only before God, not only before her brothers and sisters in Ukraine, but Ukraine witnesses to the whole world the truth that there are some values for which it is worth living and dying.”
In its war against Ukraine, “Russia uses all the power of its ideological machine,” he lamented. “It destroys human hearts and the souls of their own citizens, not only by sending them to murder in Ukraine, but also by projecting evil on the whole world.”
This ideology, which is part of military aggression, “is known in the world today as the ideology of the ‘Russian world,’” he said. It “justifies evil” and attempts to clothe the “criminal activities of the Russian army in Ukraine” in a Christian garb.
“And we are so sorry that even Christian leaders not only produce such an ideology, not only do they incite to evil, but they try to turn that evil into one of the kinds of sermons of their church,” he said, in a thinly veiled reference to Moscow Patriarch Kirill.
“Today we must all stand together against evil,” Shevchuk said. “We must realize that those who preach hatred, encourage murder, and justify the war in Ukraine, they themselves become responsible for those crimes.”
“He who today justifies war and encourages sin becomes a murderer, just like the one who directly kills civilians in Ukraine,” he added.
“O God, bless Ukraine! O God, bless the Ukrainian army, which protects the life and health of Ukrainians!” he prayed. “O God, bless the Ukrainian army, which shields Europe and the world with its bodies from the ideology of the ‘Russian world’ and all that destroys the souls and hearts of people around the world!”