Evangelical and ecumenical church groupings denounce Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Two global church groupings representing around a billion Christians, the World Evangelical Alliance and the World Council of Churches have both denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine and called for Moscow to resolve any grievances it may peacefully.
The WEA said on Feb. 24 it is "condemning the violation of international law by Russia and calling for an immediate end to the attacks on Ukraine."
Both the WEA and WCC urged people to pray for peace in Ukraine.
The BBC reported on Feb. 24 that Russian forces launched a military assault on neighboring Ukraine, crossing its borders and bombing targets near big cities.
In a pre-dawn TV statement Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia did not plan to occupy Ukraine and demanded that its military lay down their arms.
WEA, its European counterpart and the WCC called upon churches around the world to pray for restoration of peace.
The invasion of Ukraine is both unjustified and unprovoked said WEA.
"It has been claimed that the attack is necessary to protect ethnic Russians within Ukraine and to stop Ukraine from threatening Russia," said the WEA in a statement.
"These claims are untrue. This disaster has been provoked into being by President (Vladimir) Putin for wider geopolitical purposes."
The WEA noted that Russia and Ukraine are both sovereign nations that must be able to live in peace with each other, respecting each other's borders and internal and geopolitical affairs.
"We are gravely concerned to yet again witness armed conflict that will inevitably lead to tragic loss of human lives, including innocent civilians who only desire to live in peace," said WEA Secretary General Bishop Thomas Schirrmacher.
"We call for an end to the hostilities, an immediate ceasefire and respect for Ukrainian territorial integrity."
The World Council of Churches called for an immediate end to the current armed hostilities around Ukraine.
"The World Council of Churches denounces any and every use of deadly armed force to resolve disputes that could be resolved by dialogue," the council which includes the Russian Orthodox Church among its members.
"We firmly believe that dialogue - based on the principles of international law and respect for established national borders - was and is the proper path for the resolution of tensions surrounding Ukraine."
The WCC called for an immediate end to the current armed hostilities, and for the protection of all human lives and communities threatened by this violence.
We urge all member churches and all people of good will around the world to join us in prayer for peace for the people of Ukraine and the region.