Turkey’s Orthodox community prays for peace between Ukraine and Russia

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Orthodox Christians in Turkey’s southern Antalya province gathered on Sunday and prayed for peace as military clashes between Ukraine and Russia entered the fourth day.

The prayers were held at a church under the Russian-speaking Orthodox Believers Association in Alanya district, and Moscow Orthodox Priest Dmitri Bogatyr led the event.

“We invite all warring parties to peace. We do not want people to die,” he said, adding that the two countries had deep historical relations and peace should prevail so that innocent people would not suffer.

Constantine Sorkin, a Russian citizen, said he was deeply upset with the ongoing war. “I hope that a peace treaty is signed as soon as possible … We will be the same once there is peace. What matters is the unity and solidarity now,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday, a move that has met strong response from the West.

Western powers have imposed financial sanctions on Moscow, and decided to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition.

Putin has also ordered his defense chiefs to put “deterrence forces” on high alert, saying major NATO countries have made “aggressive statements” about Russia.

Meanwhile, Pope France called on everyone to pray for an end to war. In a tweet, he said: “I renew my invitation for everyone to take part on 2 March, Ash Wednesday, in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in #Ukraine, in order to be near to the suffering Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war.”

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