Since then thousands upon thousands of civilians have been killed and injured, civilian infrastructure and essential services have been targeted and destroyed, millions have been forced to flee from their homes, uncounted livelihoods have been destroyed, and war crimes and crimes against humanity have repeatedly been committed. Indeed, the fundamental basis of international humanitarian and human rights law – and the UN Charter itself – has been challenged and undermined by this illegal armed aggression against the people and sovereign state of Ukraine by a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The humanitarian impacts of this man-made catastrophe extend far beyond Ukraine’s borders, bringing suffering to many millions more around the world, particularly in poor and food-insecure countries. Moreover, in the midst of this new war in the heart of Europe, the spectre of nuclear war has once again raised its shadow over the whole world.
The World Council of Churches denounces the ongoing invasion and all of its tragic and unconscionable consequences. There can be no legitimate political, moral or religious justification for such wholesale destruction of lives, livelihoods and communities. We particularly reject any misuse of theology and religious authority that seeks to justify it.
Our God is a God of peace, not of war; of love, not of hate; of reconciliation and unity, not of confrontation and division. Christians are called in this and every context to be peacemakers, and instruments of God’s boundless and compassionate love: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
On this sombre anniversary, we pray that even after so much brutal violence, peace may yet spring anew for the people of Ukraine and the region, that the bereaved may be consoled, the injured healed, destroyed communities restored, Ukraine’s territorial integrity and internationally-recognized borders respected, and that those whose actions unleashed this disaster upon Ukraine and the world will finally be held accountable.
The WCC calls for the cessation of war, the restoration of peace and international law and the building of human community not only in Ukraine but in all places of violence, conflicts and struggles in the world. We will continue to pray and work for peace because Christ`s love moves us to justice, reconciliation and unity.
Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay
Moderator of the WCC Central Committee WCC General Secretary