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Pray for peace in Ukraine – Archbishop

By Kaelanne Jordan

Archbishop Jason Gordon is calling all brothers and sisters around the world to pray for peace amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. In a one-minute video clip via CatholicTT platforms on Thursday, February 24, the Archbishop commented that the ongoing war is “alarming to say the least”.

“Russia’s actions, the response that we will have from them, and America are going to make the world a very difficult and unsafe place in the next little while,” the Archbishop said. To this end, Archbishop Gordon appealed to all to “make a special effort” in joining the Holy Father, Pope Francis in observing Ash Wednesday, March 2, as a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine.

“Let us make a commitment to fast and let us pray that God will intervene in this matter and that peace will emerge through this and that a solution will be found, and that the people of Ukraine will not be plunged into deep war and deep suffering.” Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered wide-ranging attacks on Ukraine on Thursday, hitting multiple cities and military bases with air strikes, and attacking by land and sea.

“Sirens rang out in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and large explosions were heard there and in other cities,” said an Al Jazeera report.

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Oleksii Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said more than 40 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and dozens were wounded in the first hours of the invasion, and that up to ten civilians had been killed. Ukraine’s military said it had destroyed four Russian tanks on a road near the eastern city of Kharkiv, killed 50 troops near a town in the Luhansk region and downed six Russian warplanes elsewhere in the east. Ukrainian police said on Thursday that Russia had carried out 203 attacks since the beginning of the day. “After weeks of denying plans to invade, Putin justified his actions in an overnight televised address, asserting that the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine – a claim Ukraine and its allies have slammed as false and a pretext for a wider invasion.”

Putin also accused the United States and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands for Ukraine to be barred from joining NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and for security guarantees. He has also called Ukraine an artificial creation and denied its right to statehood. After Russia launched attacks on Thursday, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy declared martial law, cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and called on civilians to join the fight to defend Ukraine.

“As of today, our countries are on different sides of world history,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter. “Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom.”

Pope Francis made a heartfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine at his public audience in the Vatican on February 23 as the situation continued to deteriorate between Russia and Ukraine. He appealed to the consciences of “those with political responsibility” and “all the parties involved” to “refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilising coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.”

He also appealed “to everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike” to make March 2—Ash Wednesday—“a day of prayer and fasting for peace.”

According to, Pope Francis looked distressed, his voice betraying emotion, as he addressed hundreds of pilgrims from around the world in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall that morning. “My heart aches greatly at the worsening situation in Ukraine,” Pope Francis remarked. “Despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks, increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up,” he said, “and like me, many people all over the world are feeling anguish and concern. Once again the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests.”

Ukraine is a nation of 44 million people that gained its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe by area, after Russia.