Britain Yearly Meeting said that it ‘strongly condemns’ the attack on Ukraine, describing it as ‘a grave development for humanity, and a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations’.
As Friends in Britain woke to hear the news that Russia had launched a full-scale attack on 24 February, Quakers in Ukraine took to social media to tell the world ‘We’ll be grateful for your prayers’.
We don’t know anything about how our traditional Meeting for Worship will go. It is not clear whether the internet and electricity will be available, whether we will be in the capital or evacuated. Today all Kyiv people were warned that the city will be bombed. And that all citizens should be ready to hear the sound of sirens [and] go to the bomb shelter. We don’t lose our temper. God and your prayers help us.’
Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) said that it ‘strongly condemns’ the attack on Ukraine, describing it as ‘a grave development for humanity, and a violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations’.
In a statement on the Quakers in Britain website, BYM said that Quakers call for a cessation of fighting and for all parties to observe international law, including international humanitarian law. ‘This prominently includes the Geneva Conventions, which regulate the conduct of war, and to which both Russia and Ukraine are states parties. All sides should take the earliest opportunity to halt hostilities and to resume negotiations.’
War leads to ‘unimaginable suffering’, Paul Parker, recording clerk for BYM, said, particularly in exposing children to violence, which can have ‘lifelong damaging effects’. Up and down the country, Friends, such as Winchmore Hill and Huddersfield Meetings, joined people to pray and hold vigils for peace. Bath Quakers joined Friends in Kyiv for an online Meeting for Worship on Sunday.Meanwhile, one Quaker in Russia described his reaction on the Facebook page for Friends House Moscow. Boris Fedyukin said: ‘This morning, I asked my son not to believe his teachers, if even in passing they should speak in favour of the rightness of Russia’s and Putin’s acts of war, and to tell me about them this evening. I will not allow this government to indoctrinate my child with the propaganda of death.
‘Discuss the situation with friends and family, make it clear to the children that what is happening is harmful to the soul, make it clear to yourself. Act according to your conscience, do not allow the circumstances to destroy you… make a public witness to peace.’
Friends House Moscow supporters in the US are holding a daily Zoom Meeting for Worship for peace at 5pm UK time. Over 450 Friends from different countries, including Ukraine, took part on Sunday. The link at the time the Friend went to press: tinyurl.com/fhm-zoom-for-peace.
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