Ukrainian and Russian negotiators during the first round of talks in Belarus Ukrainian and Russian negotiators during the first round of talks in Belarus  (ANSA)

Belarusian Bishops express solidarity with Ukraine

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Belarus is calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, and urging Belarus not to get involved further in the Russian invasion of its neighbour.

By Lisa Zengarini

The Belarusian Catholic Church stands in solidarity with Ukraine while pleading for Belarus not to take an active part in the aggression waged by Russia against its neighbour.

Belarusian President, Aleksandr Lukashenko, is a close ally of Vladimir Putin and since the outbreak of the war, on 24 February, Russian troops in Belarus have been allowed passage into Ukraine by Belarusian border guards. Belarus’s air defense and traffic control systems, along with the country’s fueling stations, have also been made available to Moscow.

Support for talks

In a statement released on 3 March, Belarusian Bishops expressed their full support to Pope Francis’s and the Holy See’s ongoing appeals for peace and to the tentative negotiations taking place in Belarus to end hostilities and find ways of reconciliation.

“But in order for the parties to listen to each other, weapons must be silenced," they said.

A first round of talks started on 2 March, followed by a second meeting the next day, and a third round is expected over the weekend.

The Bishops expressed the deep concern of all the Belarusian Church for the war causing the loss of so many lives, the massive destruction of cities, settlements and infrastructure, and hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“War is a crime against God and against man that deserves a decisive and immediate condemnation”

The bishops are also concerned about the parallel “war of information” going on, which they say, “is no less harmful and causes hatred between peoples and nations”.

They vehemently insist that "everything possible should be done to find a peaceful solution to the conflict,” while pleading with the Belarussian authorities not to get the country actively involved. 

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Assistance for victims

President Lukashenko said on Friday that the Belarusian armed forces were not taking part in Russia's operations, after the Ukrainian military said it believed they had already received the order to cross the Ukrainian border.

The bishops' statement concluded with a call on the faithful and people of good will to pray and to “lend all assistance possible to the victims" with "brotherly love and solidarity".

05 March 2022, 14:03