Primus calls for swifter action to help Ukraine refugees reach UK

March 8, 2022

Following a special meeting of the UK Parliament where President Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, addressed the House of Commons, the Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church commented:

“I, like all of us have been watching the coverage of the invasion of Ukraine. Today we heard the powerful testimony from President Zelensky to UK parliamentarians. He laid out how the tactics of the aggressor changed as the Ukrainian resistance has proven stronger than was expected. We are now confronted by images of indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas and by the continuing attacks upon families attempting to escape the onslaught.

“None of this can be defended, it is against international law and against any understanding of acceptable behaviour.

“We are called upon to pray for peace, to work for peace and to live our lives offering peace, yet sometimes peace can only be created when the aggressor is challenged and wickedness confronted. Across the world people are calling out the evil we are witnessing, many are offering themselves to help in any way possible. There can be no let up in the voices of condemnation, for if we begin to quiet our protest, or turn towards other matters then the aggressor will have won.

“We are also called to act. I have been contacted by many people offering to help, as well as people wanting to know why we in the UK have offered refuge to so few of the people in need.

“I have tried to resist the temptation to comment on the slow response from the UK to this refugee emergency that is now engulfing Europe. I have waited to see if the promises being made by the UK government will be fulfilled. Last night I watched a news report which showed three government officials standing in a nearly empty room telling those who had reached Calais that they needed to go back to Paris to register. This is not acceptable.

“The need is urgent. People in need must be welcomed now and the necessary administration can follow, without becoming a barrier to those we need to help immediately. I call on the Government: as we have been praying, so let us act: now.”

Image: UZHHOROD, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 27, 2022 – Refugees crowd at the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke checkpoint on the Ukraine-Slovakia border, Zakarpattia Region, western Ukraine.