As the Thirteenth Assembly of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) meets in the city of Kraków, Poland, it is keenly aware that there is a war going on in the neighboring country, Ukraine.
The LWF Assembly condemns the brutal attack of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which is contrary to international law. We are appalled by the destructive power the aggressor is exerting to achieve its imperial goals.
Thousands of men, women and children have lost their lives; many more suffer physically and mentally because of the horrors of the war. Cities, towns and villages have become uninhabitable, environmental damages are incalculable and it will take decades to rebuild them. Once again, the sexual violence against women, children and men has become a weapon of war. This war, moreover, does not have only a local dimension, but has global impact as it is conducted by a nuclear superpower and has huge economic and food security consequences for many people all over the world.
We strongly condemn the imperialist ideology that the aggressor uses to justify its attack. We oppose all attitudes that consider some states entitled to include others into their “spheres of influence,” be it in Africa, South and Central America, Asia or Eastern Europe. We are shocked by the fact that some Christian churches adopt this ideology and misuse their authority to justify aggression.
Once again, there is an existential threat of nuclear war. We are alarmed by the intimidations coming from the government representatives of the Russian Federation, while keeping in mind that, in this case, there are no “two sides escalating the conflict,” but only an aggressor that threatens and a victim.
We therefore ask the LWF member churches to continue to pray for peace – not only a ceasefire, but a peace that would be just. We recall the Statement on Peace and Justice from the LWF 1984 Assembly in Budapest, Hungary. We ask the LWF member churches to include in their prayers also those living in Russia and Belarus who are being persecuted for their anti-war and anti-imperialist stances. There can be peace only if all the neighboring countries, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, are free and democratic, respecting human rights.
We stand in solidarity with all who suffer from the war, including our sisters and brothers from the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine. We support the LWF member churches who are helping the people of Ukraine and who have opened their hearts for all those who had to flee the war, not forgetting the refugees from other parts of the world.
We, at the same time, do not forget the vast suffering caused by wars and conflicts all over the world. The same mechanisms of evil are at work there as in the case of the war against Ukraine. We, therefore, as an LWF Assembly stand in solidarity and pray for the victims of all armed conflict in the world.
The LWF Assembly calls on:
- Russia to end its war against Ukraine and to cease weaponizing the food supply chains, especially to countries in the Global South;
- the international community to invest more in developing and supporting just and peaceful means, including mediation, to prevent and overcome conflicts;
- the international community for bolder efforts to address conflicts and crises in other parts of the world, including through concerted humanitarian aid and peacebuilding processes;
- the LWF member churches to pray and work for peace and justice in all communities, regions and in the world.