No Orthodox Easter truce in Ukraine as Russia continues its attacks | Russo-Ukrainian War

The war in Ukraine enters its third month on Sunday, the day Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter.

Hopes of a weekend truce in Ukraine to celebrate Orthodox Easter have faded, with talks between Moscow and Kyiv stalled and Russia stepping up attacks in the east of the country on Saturday.

The war in Ukraine enters its third month on Sunday – the day Orthodox Christians, the largest religious group in Russia and Ukraine, celebrate Easter.

Sunday marks two months since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade his neighboring country.

As this week’s invasion entered what a senior Russian military officer described as ‘the second phase of the special operation’, Ukrainian officials pledged to continue fighting and drive out troops Russians from their territory, but they had also called for an Easter truce.

“Unfortunately, Russia has rejected the proposal to establish an Easter truce,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday.

“It shows very well how the leaders of this state really treat the Christian faith, one of the most joyful and important holidays. But we remain hopeful. The hope for peace, the hope that life will overcome the dead.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called for a four-day truce during Orthodox Holy Week to allow for civilian evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian aid to hard-hit areas of Ukraine.

“I call for a humanitarian break from Orthodox Holy Week in the war in Ukraine. I urge all parties – and all champions of peace around the world – to join my Easter appeal,” António Guterres said in a tweet.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose support for Moscow’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine has appalled many Christians, said on Saturday he hoped it would end soon, but again he would not did not condemn her.

Church bells in Lukashivka, northern Ukraine, April 22, 2022. Residents say Russian soldiers used the church to store ammunition and Ukrainian forces shelled the building to clear the Russians [Petros Giannakouris/AP]

At a church in Lukashivka, a small village in northern Ukraine, there will be no Orthodox Easter service on Sunday.

One of the church’s golden domes has been torn off. His golden cross is leaning against an exterior wall.

“It’s really a shame,” said 70-year-old resident Valentina Ivanivna as nearby men dismantled abandoned Russian military vehicles.

This church, near the town of Chernihiv, survived World War II and the most austere years of the Soviet Union, a time when authorities stripped it of religious icons, residents said.

They added that it will take years for the church to regain its former beauty. But the villagers are committed to rebuilding, whatever the cost.

They have already started building their own house, even as they wait for basic services to resume.

This weekend, they won’t have gas to bake Easter bread.

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