Ukraine, a year on
Last week was the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Apart from the staggering death toll, millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries, sparking a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Before the conflict began, Ukraine had a population of around 41 million but since hostilities began around 14 million people have been displaced.
It’s an unjust war. The Russian president should never have sent troops into Ukraine.
Stability in Ukraine has been uncertain since it gained independence from Russia in 1991 after the old Soviet Union dissolved.
Only last month Pope Francis denounced the “wake of death and destruction” caused by Russia’s offensive, describing the war as “a crime against God and humanity”.
He said attacks on civilian infrastructure were causing deaths “not only from gunfire and acts of violence but also from hunger and freezing cold. Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation,” the pope said.
Pope Francis also warned of a rising nuclear threat evoking memories of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. He said the world “once more feels fear and anguish” and called for a total ban on nuclear weapons.
As the war in Ukraine has entered its second year, we can only hope and pray that common sense will eventually prevail.
Otherwise, many thousands more will die, and that is totally unacceptable.
Let us continue to pray for peace.
O God, author and giver of peace, listen to the cry from our human family torn by violent conflict:
Give peace in our time, that peace which, as your son Jesus Christ told us
and as we have experienced in these days, is a peace which the world cannot give.
To world leaders grant the wisdom to see beyond the boundaries of race, religion, and nation to that common humanity that makes us all your children and brothers and sisters to one another.
To those who have taken up arms in anger or revenge grant the grace of conversion to the path of peaceful dialogue and constructive collaboration.
To the innocent who live in the shadow of war and terror, especially the frightened children,
be a shelter and strength, their haven and hope.
And to those who have already lost their lives as victims of human cruelty and warfare, open wide your arms and enfold them all in the embrace of your compassion, healing, and everlasting life.
Grant this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Image: courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.
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