Next month sees the seventh anniversary of the war in Yemen, which began on 26th March 2015.
It is a war that has been fuelled by British arms exports, with sales worth more than £20 billion made to Saudi Arabia since the conflict began. It is also a war that has claimed over 377,000
lives. Last month, the Saudi coalition bombed a prison killing over 80 civilians, without a word of condemnation from the UK government.
It’s high time for the UK government to stop enabling this war, end arms sales, and make serious efforts to bring the war to an end and promote accountability for atrocities committed by all sides.
On 10th March, CAAT is asking friends and supporters to lobby their MPs for Yemen. If you would like to take part in this Lobby Day, please contact your MP to book a meeting.
. Between now and then we will send you a briefing pack with the latest information. There will also be an optional online training session to help you make the most of this meeting.
So many articles out there, and grateful thanks to Anne O’Connor who has provided most of them. I have included a few, but obviously most of us are hearing the news as it happens, and I think it is important to remember to take a moment and remove ourselves from the distress of it all, whilst still holding the people of Ukraine, and indeed Russia, in our thoughts and prayers.
As I write this I have received a phone call telling me that, according to the radio news, President Putin has put his nuclear forces on special alert. Looking at the BBC News website, who are providing up to the minute information as it happens, the hope is that Putin is signalling a warning to NATO, rather than an intent to actually use them…but who knows. The world is negotiating with someone who seems to want to stop at nothing to get what he wants, or prove a point.
If you were wondering what is so special about Ukraine, the following has been doing the rounds on social media: –
For those who are asking :
“Why does Ukraine matter?” “
How the independent, sovereign and democratic nation of Ukraine ranks:
🥇1st European reserve of uranium minerals;
🥈2nd European titanium mineral reserve – 10th world reserve;
)2nd world reserve of manganese minerals (2.3 billion tonnes, or 12% of world reserves);
🥈2nd world iron reserve (30 billion tonnes);
de2nd European Mercury Reserve;
(223rd European shale gas reserve (22 billion cubic meters) – 13th world reserve
📌 4th place in the world in total value of natural resources
📌 7th world coal reserve (33.9 billion tons)
❗️🇺🇦 Ukraine is an agricultural country – it can meet the food needs of 600 million people:
🥇The largest area of arable land in Europe;
🥉3rd largest area of black soil (chornozem) in the world (25% of world volume);
🥇1st exporter in the world of sunflower and sunflower oil;
‘2nd world barley producer – 4th world exporter;
de3rd corn producer in the world – 4th exporter in the world;
– 4th potato producer in the world;
– 5th rye producer in the world;
– 5th place in the world in beekeeping production – honey, wax, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, bee venom (75,000 tons);
– 8th wheat exporter in the world;
– 9th producer of chicken eggs in the world;
– 16th cheese exporter in the world
🇺🇦 Ukraine is an industrialized country:
🥇 1st European producer of ammonia;
Europe 2nd largest pipeline network in Europe and 4th in the world (142.5 billion cubic meters of gas flow capacity in the EU);
🥉 3rd largest nuclear park in Europe – 8th world;
ire 3rd longest railway network in Europe – 11th in the world (21,700 km);
🥉3rd worldwide producer of locators and tracking equipment (after the USA and France);
export 3rd world iron exporter;
💥4th world exporter of turbines for nuclear power plants;
💥4th manufacturer of rocket launchers in the world;
💥 4th exporter of clay in the world;
💥4th titanium exporter in the world;
💥8th exporter of minerals and metal concentrates in the world;
💥9th exporter in the world in the arms industry;
💥 10th steel producer in the world (32.4 million tonnes).
Regardless of the above, though, the important thing in all of this is the people. They don’t want to fight or have their homeland destroyed. They don’t want to lose loved ones for no reason.
Their struggle has become our struggle, and we support them in love and prayer.
What Putin Wants
Peter Rickets (former Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign Office) writes in Prospects Magazine about Putin wanting to re-open the post-Cold War settlement.
Pope visits Russian Embassy
On Friday, Pope Francis went to see the Russian Ambassador to the Holy See to express his concern about the war in Ukraine. Vatican News stated that he had previously appealed : – “to those with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war.” And he called on believers and non-believers alike to unite in a joint supplication for peace next 2nd March, Ash Wednesday, by praying and fasting. “Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons, with prayer and fasting,” the Pontiff said. “I invite everyone to make next 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace. I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”
You can read the full article through Vatican News.
UNHCR, the Refugee Agency
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Facebook page has up to date news on what they are doing in Ukraine at present, and the humanitarian aid they are providing.
Statements from the Religious Communities
Pope Francis’ Statement
“I have great pain in my heart over the worsening situation in Ukraine,”“Like me, many people all over the world are anguished and worried. Once again, everyone’s peace is threatened by one side’s interests.” “I would like all those who have the political responsibility to make a serious examination of conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not of war… He wants us to be brothers and not enemies. I pray that all parties involved will refrain from any action that will cause even more suffering for people, destabilizing coexistence among nations and undermining international law.” “And now, I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical evil of violence is answered with the weapons of God, with prayer and fasting,” “I invite everyone to make next March 2, Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting for peace. I encourage believers in a special way to devote themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”
Pastoral Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby and the Most Revd and Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell have posted a pastoral letter concerning the situation in Ukraine, calling for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian forces, as well as giving some some specific dates for prayer. You can read the full letter here.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine (Moscow Patriarchate)
The Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, and primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, urged people to pray for Ukraine, for the army and the people, to forget mutual quarrels and misunderstandings and to unite in love for God and the homeland.
His words are available to read through World Council of Churches here.
Obviously, there are various fundraising efforts going around to help those in Ukraine, or the neighbouring countries in dealing with the influx of refugees, and in some places, their animals.
The bigger ones are as follows: –
UNICEF: – More than half a million children in Ukraine are already affected as the conflict in the east of the country enters its eighth year. Homes, schools, water supplies and hospitals are damaged. Landmines pose a major threat to children’s lives.
They are especially concerned for the safety and wellbeing of children who have become separated from their families.
They are helping to make sure that child health and protection services are sustained and families have clean water and nutritious food.
Please donate to help protect children in Ukraine.
Aid to the Church in Need –
ACN states on their website: – With project partners reporting a deepening catastrophe, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has rushed through plans to send €1 million (more than £830,000) to help the Church in Ukraine as it ministers to a country invaded by Russian troops.
Bishop Pavlo Honcharuk of Kharkiv, one of the dioceses in eastern Ukraine that ACN is supporting with emergency help, said: “The situation is getting worse every day. We live now from hour to hour.
“Prices are rising, especially for essential goods. The situation in the diocese is very difficult.
“The number of faithful has decreased and those remaining, unfortunately, cannot maintain the parishes or support the priests. They come themselves and ask for help from the priests and sisters.”
The emergency aid will meet the essential needs – including heating, lighting, water and food – of the diocese’s 57 priests as well as the 54 members of religious communities, enabling them to continue their vital ministry to those struggling to make ends meet.
For more of the story, and the opportunity to donate, go to the ACN website.
The Last Word