World News / Europe

    Easter Messages From Russia, Ukraine Reveal Divide

    Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, leads an Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, April 20, 2014.
    Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, leads an Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, April 20, 2014.
    VOA News
    Orthodox Christians in Ukraine and Russia on Sunday celebrated Easter -- the holiest day of the Christian calendar -- with their nations locked in conflict and Ukraine's patriarch condemning what he called Russian "aggression" in his homeland.

    In his Easter message, Kyiv Patriarch Filaret said there has been aggression and injustice "against our peace loving nation." He also labeled Russia an "enemy" whose attack on Ukraine is doomed to fail.

    In Moscow, meanwhile, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill led prayers for Russians in Ukraine and called for peace and cooperation.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's wife Svetlana (L) attend an Orthodox Easter service in Moscow April 20, 2014.Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's wife Svetlana (L) attend an Orthodox Easter service in Moscow April 20, 2014.
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's wife Svetlana (L) attend an Orthodox Easter service in Moscow April 20, 2014.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's wife Svetlana (L) attend an Orthodox Easter service in Moscow April 20, 2014.
    He was quoted as calling for an "end to the designs of those who want to destroy holy Russia."

    The dueling messages came hours after the Ukrainian government announced a pause in security operations to oust pro-Russian militants from buildings they have seized in recent days.

    Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia linked the suspension to the Easter holiday to give European monitors more time to organize a special mission aimed at de-escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine.

    A VOA correspondent in Kyiv says the diplomat's comments came after wrapping up a meeting with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and ambassadors from Russia, the United States and the European Union.

    Pro-Russian gunmen have seized Ukrainian government buildings in nearly a dozen eastern cities and say they will not surrender until the interim Ukraine government in Kyiv steps down.

    Meanwhile, in Moscow Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted that Russia had deployed additional security forces to the Ukrainian border in response to the instability in Ukraine. He commented on Rossiya 1 TV.

    Russia has previously said its troops were on the border for routine exercises.

    President Barack Obama has warned Russia that it could face additional sanctions if it fails to adhere to a new international deal on Ukraine reached Thursday in Geneva.

    That agreement, which followed talks between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the European Union, calls for all government buildings to be evacuated and for the militants to be disarmed.

    But it includes few concrete measures for ending the crisis, and many Western leaders are skeptical about Russia holding up its end of the bargain.
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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jack C from: USA
    April 20, 2014 1:56 PM
    Only idiots go to war,
    Today, much more damage can be inflicted upon a country without killing its innocent citizen as a result of a few bastards within their government. The best approach is to devistate their economy through sanctions that financially cripple a country on a global scale. This requires about 80% of the countries in the world to turn off trade, turn off exports and stop all transactions related to loans or bond sales. Since Russia has destroyed it's industrial capabilities, it would be almost impossible to manufacture, grow or process enough goods to keep all of her people fed and supplied with necessities for every day life without imports or very strict rationing. The retaining friendly supporting nations supplying them with goods, will soon find out that isolation is a bitch when your targeted as assisting them and the world's starts to retract its support and trade as a result of your actions.
    Theirs no reason whatsoever to use military action, unless you are being attacked. Then it would be for defense only. Global sanctions will take a horrible toll on the countries population over a period of time, which will result in turning your military around to start killing your own citizens as they revolt, and their are very few countries who's military will kill their own citizens in this type of situation.
    IMPLEMENT STRONG SANCTIONS
    Jack C

    by: donrahilly@aol.com from: Ohio
    April 20, 2014 7:00 AM
    I just wish we had an American President that was truthful to his nation. He's no different than Putin. Please , please , get the next two and a half years over. We should place defensive missiles in Poland as fast as we can. Enact more measures.
    In Response

    by: Phyto from: Minnesota, USA
    April 20, 2014 4:24 PM
    To critique the President of the United States during a time of conflict is unpatriotic. If you prefer Putin, then join Snowden in 'the land of the laws'.

    by: George
    April 20, 2014 12:06 AM
    In Putin's Russia, Armed Soldiers are called Protesters.

    by: Brent Ekstrand
    April 19, 2014 11:10 PM
    Cold War II is well under way. It is ironic to see a Russian dictator using Hitler's tactic of grabbing land under the pretext of protecting "ethnic countrymen"... Shades of Sudetenland in Georgia, Crimea, and now eastern Ukraine. I just hope the people of the USA are still able to rouse themselves to the level necessary for the long, hard fight that is coming. I pray that our best allies, the British, will also find it in themselves to fight when the balloon goes up. Make no mistake, a war is coming unless we wish to allow Putin to re-establish the Evil Empire. We beat them once

    by: Steve Foerster from: Northern Virginia, USA
    April 19, 2014 10:38 PM
    It's very difficult to take either of these two seriously as men of God when they offer such nationalist messages on the holiest of days and especially when referring to a whole nation as an "enemy". So much for loving your neighbor!

    by: johnnycanucker from: vancouver canada
    April 19, 2014 9:35 PM
    are these two really priests? promoting nationalism and violence is not what priests should be promoting

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