A pro-Russian militaman in the Donetsk region, Ukraine. A pro-Russian militaman in the Donetsk region, Ukraine.  (ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

If Russia wants to win the war it must make peace

The war is devastating Ukraine. There are many victims, including innocent children, and much destruction. But Russia will also pay dearly for the consequences of this cruel conflict. If the Russians surrender to peace, it will be a great victory for them and for all humanity.

By Sergio Centofanti

If Russia's war against Ukraine continues, we may all lose, but it will be a devastating defeat for Russia.  If Kremlin goes ahead with the invasion, it will recede into ‘history. Russia will only win if it surrenders to peace. Almost the whole world today is against the Russian regime.

Free information has been eliminated in the country. Many Russians believe that a 'special operation' is underway to free Ukraine from the Nazis.  Whoever calls it an invasion risks up to 15 years in prison.  Many Russians join solidarity initiatives for Ukrainian refugees, believing that they are fleeing the bad regime in Kyiv. They do not know that the Russian army is an invading army firing on those refugees, they do not know that so many unarmed Ukrainian civilians, often old men and women, take to the streets occupied by Russian tanks shouting at them to leave, because they are not liberators but aggressors.

There are others who justify the attack by saying that it is the fault of Western expansionism or of Ukraine, which flout agreements. Perhaps everyone bears some responsibility for raising tensions, but one does not invade and raze a sovereign country just because of your reasons.  You don't bomb civilians and kill children just because a sovereign country freely chooses to join a community other than its own. It is reminiscent of the biblical logic of Lamech, who killed his neighbour for a tiny scratch, taking revenge 77 times over. Those who somehow justify the attack, do not have loved ones, perhaps young children, fleeing in the cold or under the bombs.

It is heartbreaking to see the image of young parents running to a hospital without electricity to save their 18-month-old baby, who had been hit by a bomb. There was nothing the doctors could do. Who is guilty of this death? Who is guilty of this pain that will last a lifetime? And there are so many children, so many people who are dying!

History teaches us that one who sows the wind reaps the storm. The fruit of violence backfires. Empires, dictatorships and regimes come to an end sooner or later. The human being is made to be free. But we have a conscience, a voice within us, that can tell us what is good and what is bad, beyond national, ethnic, ideological and religious affiliations. To kill children, to cause the death of so many little ones, which is what this invasion is doing, is a great, cruel, atrocious wickedness.

"We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5,29) says Saint Peter to the authorities who ordered him to keep silent about Jesus. Of course, there is the risk of paying personally. This is the risk of martyrdom that courageous witnesses of all times share. The appeal of the whole world to the Russians is this: lay down your arms, surrender to peace, only this will be the victory of your country. And it will be a victory for humanity.

07 March 2022, 15:37