Luton Council of Faiths calls for 'immediate end' to fighting in Ukraine

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'We urge all faith communities and all people of goodwill in Luton to pray for peace for the people of Ukraine and the region'

Luton Council of Faiths has called for "an immediate end" to the fighting in Ukraine following the country's invasion by Russian forces yesterday.

Ukraine says at least 137 of its people - civilians and soldiers - have been killed, while it is estimated that Russia has lost 450 personnel since Moscow launched the attack in the early hours of Thursday morning.

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Of the crisis, a Luton Council of Faiths spokesman said: "It is with huge sadness we watch the situation of war escalating in Ukraine. Wars lead to unimaginable suffering and lifelong damaging effects, particularly for women and children.

Kyiv in UkraineKyiv in Ukraine
Kyiv in Ukraine

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"As people of different faiths and also those of no particular faith, working together in Luton, we are convinced that the world cannot develop and find answers for the challenges of today by resorting to might and violence, by showing disdain for shared human values.

"We denounce any and every use of deadly armed force to resolve disputes that could be resolved by dialogue. Concerned with protecting the sanctity of human life, we call for an immediate end to the current armed hostilities.

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"We urge all faith communities and all people of goodwill in Luton to pray for peace for the people of Ukraine and the region. Although war makes dialogue and peacemaking far more difficult, we know there are people in both Russia and Ukraine working tirelessly for peace. We continue to uphold and stand in solidarity with them at this violent and perilous time.

"Together, we must strengthen our resolve to continue working together for peace and unity in our world, globally as well as locally."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened any country attempting to interfere with "consequences you have never seen", with the UK, EU and other allies vowing to impose tough new sanctions against Moscow, but not to send in troops.

Meanwhile, posting yesterday on social media, the Luton branch of Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, based at Cromwell Hill, said: "Today brought terrible news, which we hoped would not become reality - the war has begun. Join us for worship on Sunday, February 27 at 3pm and discuss how we can help our compatriots in Ukraine."

Luton Council added: "Luton stands with the people of Ukraine. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected, including those here in Luton with family and friends in the country."

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