Ukraine: Archbishop of York warns Russia attacks will lead to "misery and horror" as he backs sanctions and urges Christians to pray

The Archbishop of York has urged for peace after the Ukraine invasion, condemning Russia’s attack as “a great evil” and backing the Prime Minister’s plans to increase sanctions.

In a joint statement with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Cottrell said: “The horrific and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is an act of great evil.

"Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces.

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"We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long-term agreements for stability and lasting peace."

Archbishop Cottrell later backed Boris Johnson’s plans to push further sanctions onto Russia following the strikes on Thursday, which killed 40 people.

Archbishop Cottrell later backed Boris Johnson’s plans to push further sanctions onto Russia following the strikes on Thursday, which killed 40 people.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, he said: “We must call upon Russia to withdraw its troops. There must be a ceasefire. This cannot be the way that we live in our world.

“And so we must pursue the way of peace but of course, right now, our chief concern is for the people of Ukraine, the children and families who are suffering, It is impossible for us to imagine how they are today.

“And we must also do all we can to apply sanctions to Russia, but also to provide support for Ukraine.

“We support all diplomatic and economic sanctions to get Russia to change its mind because this will only lead to misery and horror and instability in our world.”

Archbishop Cottrell also said the Church is having ongoing discussions about what aid it can provide to Ukrainian citizens.

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They added: "We also give our support to the call from Pope Francis for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday, March 2."

Pope Francis urged his followers to pray "intensively", adding: "May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war."

Boris Johnson promised a "massive" package of economic measures in tandem with the US and European Union after the Russian president finally launched the invasion which had been feared for weeks.

In a sombre address to the nation, the Prime Minister said the world cannot stand by and allow the freedom of Ukraine to be "snuffed out", as Moscow hit its neighbour with a wide-ranging attack, targeting cities and bases with air strikes or shelling.

"This act of wanton and reckless aggression is an attack not just on Ukraine, it's an attack on democracy and freedom in eastern Europe and around the world," Mr Johnson said from Downing Street.