Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew prays for Ukraine


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew appealed to all the parties involved in the Russia-Ukraine border crisis to “follow the path of dialogue so that peace, stability and justice can prevail in Ukraine,” during his sermon after the Sunday service at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul.

Stressing that weapons were not the solution and can only bring about “war and violence, sorrow and death,” he called on all religious leaders and those in positions of power, as well as all persons of good will, to strive for a peaceful resolution of the dangerously escalating situation in Ukraine and warned that hostilities in Europe could escalate into a third world war.

The Patriarch was speaking in English, before a congregation that included many diplomats from Eastern European countries and the Balkans, as well as a number of Ukrainians living in Istanbul, urging them to pray for peace in Ukraine.

Meanwhile the Russian ambassador to Athens, Andrey Maslov when asked about the role of the Alexandroupolis base in the Ukraine crisis and whether there is “concern” on the Russian side, Maslov said that the discussion with diplomatic channels with Greece on the “written security guarantees”, which Moscow supports, continues.

“We can not accept the approaches of Western countries, which extract from this set of interrelated conditions only the positions that are advantageous to them and in particular the right of states to freely choose alliances,” he said.

“The meaning of the agreements on the indivisibility of security lies in whether it is common to all or does not exist for anyone.

“As for the ‘concern’ you asked about, it must be felt by the countries themselves, who are giving up their territory for use as a transit station for the transportation of personnel, equipment and technical means from Southeast Europe to the border with Russia.

“In the past, the countries of the region more responsibly and calmly assessed the potential consequences for themselves from similar steps.

“We do not know of any plans by Greece to install nuclear weapons on its territory and in our dialogue with Athens there is no such issue.”

“In the face of the Greeks we see responsible partners, who are interested in multifaceted cooperation with us,” he told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

“There are numerous areas where there is an objective mutual interest in cooperation and we focus our efforts especially on them,” he said, listing trade and investment, energy, cultural relations and others areas of points of cooperation.

Maslov spoke of “certain artificial limiting factors” that Greece’s accession to NATO adds to bilateral cooperation, noting that “this has always been the case since Greece joined the North Atlantic Alliance.”

“In Greece we do not observe anti-Russian hysteria”