The leader of the Russian Evangelical Alliance expressed his dismay over the war in Ukraine in a letter to the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).
“As the General Secretary of the Russian Evangelical Alliance, I mourn what my country has done in its recent military invasion of another sovereign country, Ukraine,” Rev. Vitaly Vlasenko said.
The general secretary of the Russian Evangelical Alliance, one of WEA’s 143 national member bodies, requested that his letter be published and shared with the worldwide Evangelical constituency.
Vlasenko noted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine came as a shock to him, and to other Christians alike.
“In the worst-case scenario, I could not imagine what is now being observed in Ukraine. Two peoples closely related to each other, many of whom are deeply devoted to the Christian (primarily Orthodox) faith, are now in a fierce battle – one side pursuing the goal of demilitarizing Ukraine, the other seeking to save their country from occupation,” he wrote.
According to Vlasenko, many Russians and Ukrainians have close family relations in the opposite country.
“Today, pain, fear, and deep sorrow for their loved ones and for the future of their own lives and countries, pierce the hearts of many people like lightning, because since the Second World War, no one knows what the limits of war and its consequences may be,” Vlasenko noted.
His letter mentions the loss of lives of soldiers on both sides, as well as the millions of refugees that the war has created, including women, elderly and children.
“All these events cause me deep sorrow, bitterness and regret for decisions taken by the leadership of my country, and a great compassion for those suffering as a result of this decision,” said the Evangelical leader.
Vlasenko stressed that he had done everything he could to try to prevent a war. A day before the invasion, he sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin, in support of a request by the religious leaders of Ukraine for a peaceful solution.
“We initiated fasting and prayer for peace and harmony between Russia and Ukraine,” Vlasenko added. “Our Alliance took part in public prayer alongside Russian, Ukrainian, and European leaders for the reconciliation of all parties.”
The Russian Evangelical Alliance provided humanitarian assistance to more than 500 refugees from Ukraine stationed in southern Russia, reads the letter.
“Today, as a citizen and as General Secretary of the Russian Evangelical Alliance, I apologize to all those who have suffered, lost loved ones and relatives, or lost their place of residence as a result of this military conflict,” Vlasenko wrote.
He concluded with prayer that the ones who suffered the war will find strength from the Lord to extend their hand of solidarity and forgiveness, so that “we can live as the people of God to our world.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.