Pray for Peace in Ukraine
It is with profound alarm that we see that Russia has invaded Ukraine and appears to have troops in Kyiv. At present it is unclear what is happening but it is likely this will lead to massive displacement and further human suffering for the people of Ukraine and the surrounding areas.
For the past eight years, our partners at Caritas Ukraine have been supporting those affected by ongoing conflict in the east of the country. But, despite reaching nearly 950,000 people with humanitarian relief, an estimated 2.9 million people still remain in need.
The invasion threatens to worsen this already challenging situation, meaning many more people may require access to basics such as food, shelter and psychological support. It is these people that must be prioritised and kept in mind over the coming days. We are seeking ways to support them through local Caritas agencies, initially from our General Emergency Fund.
Fr. Petro Zharkovskyi, President of Caritas-Spes Ukraine, said today:
Most Ukrainians spent this night in basements and shelters under the sound of bombing and sirens. Our morning began chatting with team members about whether everyone was alive, safe, and sound. The situation changes very quickly. The Russian Federation attacks Ukraine in all directions at the same time. There have been no military operations of this scale in Europe since World War II.
Attacks on Kyiv began this morning. The sounds of explosions started at about 4:20 a.m. The worst thing is that besides military facilities, the Russian troops are attacking dormitories, hospitals, orphanages, educational institutions, and other civil infrastructure. Obviously, the goal of this aggression is to destroy Ukraine's sovereignty.
Alistair Dutton, SCIAF’s CEO, added:
I am horrified to see Russia invade the Ukraine. We in SCIAF stand in friendship and solidarity with the people of the Ukraine, conscious of the fear and anxiety they must currently be feeling, and urge world leaders to pursue all possible avenues to re-establish peace and security.
All response plans which are being prepared must be founded on the Geneva Conventions, and international humanitarian and refugee law: protecting civilians in conflict and their assets; ensuring freedom of movement for people to find sanctuary; ensuring provision of humanitarian relief and the access required by humanitarian agencies to do so.
We must stand in solidarity with those who are threatened by conflict. Please pray with the SCIAF family.