11 Mar 2022 18:56

Patriarch Kirill accuses Western politicians of attempting to turn Ukrainians into Russia's enemies

MOSCOW. March 11 (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has criticized the West for the intention to change the mentality of the people living in Ukraine and turn them into Russia's enemies, while the two peoples are "united by common faith" and "share common historical fate."

"By the 1990s Russia had been promised that its security and dignity would be respected. However, as time went by, the forces overtly considering Russia to be their enemy came close to its borders. Year after year, month after month, the NATO member states have been building up their military presence, disregarding Russia's concerns that these weapons may one day be used against it," Patriarch Kirill said in an open letter to Archpriest Ioan Sauca, acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches.

"Moreover, the political forces which make it their aim to contain Russia were not going to fight against it themselves. They were planning to use other means, having tried to make brotherly peoples - Russians and Ukrainians - enemies," he said.

"They spared no effort, no funds to flood Ukraine with weapons and warfare instructors. Yet, the most terrible thing is not the weapons, but the attempt to're-educate', to mentally remake Ukrainians and Russians living in Ukraine into enemies of Russia," he said.

The church schism created by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in 2018, which "has taken its toll on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," pursued the same end, Patriarch Kirill said.

He also mentioned the armed conflict that has continued for eight years in Donbas, whose population "was defending their right to speak the Russian language, demanding respect for their historical and cultural tradition."

"However, their voices went unheard, just as thousands of victims among the Donbas population went unnoticed in the Western world. This tragic conflict has become a part of the large-scale geopolitical strategy aimed, first and foremost, at weakening Russia," he said.

Patriarch Kirill said he regretted that "Russophobia is spreading across the Western world at an unprecedented pace," and the economic sanctions being imposed by the Western leaders on Russia "will be harmful to everyone."

"They make their intentions blatantly obvious - to bring suffering not only to the Russian political or military leaders, but specifically to the Russian people," he said.

Patriarch Kirill called on the members of the World Council of Churches to pray for establishing lasting and justice-based peace and expressed the hope that it could "remain a platform for unbiased dialogue, free from political preferences and a one-sided approach."