At the end of a three-day visit to Ukraine — what he described as a “show of solidarity” against Russia’s “illegal, unjust, and brutal invasion” —Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke to Jonathan Luxmoore of Church Times.
Jonathan Luxmoore: You returned to Kyiv on Friday, after visiting Bucha and Irpen, both sites of atrocities against civilians under Russian occupation. What impressions have you been left with?
Justin Welby: I can best answer with a few short sentences, since the situation is much more complicated than it looks. Firstly, in terms of what’s happening on the ground, we’ve seen how the continuing bombings and attacks are affecting civilians very badly.
Secondly, we’ve seen the absolute horror of what was done in Irpin and Bucha with the Russian occupation, with the killing of civilians and its impact on the population.
Thirdly, the resolution and resilience of virtually all Ukrainians seems extraordinary, and this means this war may go on for much longer than one might have hoped.
It’s very hard to see the Ukrainians suddenly deciding they want to stop. They are quite determined to get a just peace, which must mean a ceasefire and withdrawal by the Russians. And they’re not going to be bullied or pushed — quite rightly — into negotiations before they’re ready.
So, those would be my headlines. And my final observation concerns the enormous work which the Church, in its global sense, is doing here, working closely in many partnerships. At the seminary which we visited today in Irpen, they’re feeding 150 people with full-scale lunches every day, and taking out 1200 meals every week. And that’s just one place at one point.
To read the rest of the interview, click here.