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Ukraine needs negotiated peace, not more war, says Welby

07 March 2022

Alamy

Archbishop Welby gives the blessing during choral evensong in Chichester Cathedral, on Sunday, on the final day of a three-day visit to the diocese

Archbishop Welby gives the blessing during choral evensong in Chichester Cathedral, on Sunday, on the final day of a three-day visit to the diocese

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has called for peace negotiations in Ukraine and compassion for refugees, as the humanitarian crisis in the country worsens.

Speaking to pupils at a school in Crawley, on Friday, Archbishop Welby said: “We need negotiation, mediation, getting people to support peace but not creating more war.” He also called for UK citizens to show generosity towards refugees. “We need to turn towards each other and care for each other,” he said.

Archbishop Welby was making a three-day visit to the diocese of Chichester.

On Saturday, he spoke at a vigil in support of Ukraine, held in Lewes, and described the Russian invasion as “wicked beyond description”. He told the crowd: “If we are seriously going to be on the side of Ukraine, we have to say to refugees, ‘You are welcome here.’”

The Archbishop drew attention to a sign that said “Waive visas”, and repeated the phrase several times. Last week, the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, criticised the Government’s response to the refugee crisis, suggesting that it had moved too slowly (News, 4 March).

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, insisted that thorough background checks were necessary before issuing visas, because Russian agents were attempting to enter the UK. Archbishop Welby suggested that such concerns were “exaggerated”.

The Archbishop told the gathering in Lewes that he did not “believe that widening the war in any way will help either Ukraine or anyone else who is vulnerable”.

The diocesan visit involved meeting community leaders, migrants, and charity workers in Brighton and Hove, visits to churches that have received Strategic Development Fund grants, and a eucharist for staff and prisoners at HM Prison Ford, near Arundel.

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