Ukrainian leader says Russia connived at murders

25 April 2014


Careful owners: Patriarch Filaret (second from left), with Major-General Yuri Obleuhov, of the border service of Ukraine, wait as a car, bought by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is given to border guards on Good Friday

Careful owners: Patriarch Filaret (second from left), with Major-General Yuri Obleuhov, of the border service of Ukraine, wait as a car, bought by t...

A FRAGILE peace agreement made last week between interim leaders of Ukraine and representatives of the Russian government was shattered this week, after the bodies of two men - one of them a politician loyal to the country's acting Prime Minister, Oleksandr Turchynov - were found near Slavyansk, in eastern Ukraine.

"The terrorists who effectively took the whole Donetsk region hostage have now gone too far, by starting to torture and murder Ukrainian patriots. These crimes are being committed with the full support and connivance of the Russian Federation," Mr Turchynov said, as he relaunched "anti-terrorist operations" against rebels in the east of the country.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis both referred to the conflict in Ukraine during their Easter messages.

"In Syria, mothers cry for their children and husbands. In the Ukraine, neighbours cry because the future is precarious and dangerous. In Rwanda, tears are still shed each day as the horror of genocide is remembered," Archbishop Welby said in Canterbury Cathedral.

"This is the world we live in: a world which each of us has had a hand in creating. A world of crosses. We can comfort one another, and treat the dying with dignity. We can make gardens and graves, we can move stones and wipe away tears. But we can do nothing to defeat death."

He said that Jesus's resurrection "changes everything. . . It gives us hope where we were in despair, faith where we were lost, light where we were in darkness, joy where we were entirely in sorrow."

His message was echoed by Pope Francis in his Urbi et Orbi blessing in St Peter's Square: "By your resurrection . . . we ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine."

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, prayed for an "end to the designs of those who want to destroy holy Russia".

In his Easter message, Patriarch Filaret of Kiev said that "God cannot be on the side of evil; so the enemy of the Ukrainian people is condemned to defeat."

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