“Reading your letter, I heard the cries and the weeping of the Ukrainian mothers who lost their children, of the families who lost their dear ones, the despair of those under the ruins of bombed houses, of those dehydrated and starving without hope of escape since the ravages of war do not allow for secure humanitarian corridors,” wrote Sauca. “But I also hear the pain and suffering of Russian mothers, wives, children and parents who receive their dear ones in a coffin, from this illogical fratricide war.”
Sauca noted that, on both sides, there is suffering and despair.
“During the period of mounting tensions over Ukraine and following the outbreak of conflict on 24 February, I and WCC leadership have been intensively engaged in seeking ways to address the situation,” he wrote. “Most of those efforts have not been possible to share in any public or semi-public domain in real-time.”
Sauca then shared an update on the initiatives of WCC and its partners. “WCC is in close contact with ACT Alliance regarding church-based humanitarian responses to the situation in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries due to the conflict,” he wrote. “Having seen the impact of the conflict in the faces of refugees arriving in these neighbouring countries, and being aware of the plight and peril of all those civilians still trapped and unable to flee, we strongly underscore the urgent necessity of effective and secure humanitarian corridors to enable civilians to escape the fighting.”
Sauca urged Russian and Ukrainian forces, and the political leadership of both countries, to coordinate to ensure that such corridors are established and maintained until all those that wish to leave have done so.
“Moreover, I appeal to all those mounting the attacks that threaten civilians to remember their moral and legal responsibility to protect civilians, and their accountability before God for all innocent lives lost,” wrote Sauca. “We could make yet another statement, but I did not feel that it could really help.”
Sauca decided, after reading First Lady Zelenska’s letter, to contact the presidents of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, asking them to make an effort to come to the table of dialogue and to stop the bloodshed and destruction of Ukraine.
He also accepted her invitation to come to Kyiv, together with other religious leaders.
“I pray God that before the great feast of Easter peace may prevail and the war will stop and I will be able to come to Kyiv and celebrate together the joyful feast of Easter and proclaim together with Christ’s Resurrection a free, renewed and resurrected Ukraine,” he concluded.
Local churches are frontline response for 10 million displaced Ukrainians, shares WCC and ACT Alliance (WCC news release, 23 March 2022)
Youth across the world voice prayers for the people of Ukraine (WCC news release, 23 March 2022)
Church response to refugees, “I’m seeing the image of God in you” (WCC press release, 22 March 2022)
ACT Alliance, WCC delegation visits Hungary, Ukraine and Romania with a focus on humanitarian needs, church response (WCC press release of 18 March 2022)
Churches respond to growing humanitarian needs in Ukraine and bordering countries (WCC news release, 11 March 2022)
WCC appalled by escalating impact on civilians of conflict in Ukraine (WCC news release, 11 March 2022)
WCC acting general secretary to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow: “raise up your voice so that the war can be stopped” (WCC press release, 2 March 2022)
WCC urges President Putin to stop war, restore peace to Ukraine (WCC press release of 25 February 2022)