Church leader blasts Putin over ‘unjustified’ war

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Cyprus’ influential Orthodox Church leader Tuesday criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin for waging an “unchristian and nonsensical” war against the people of Ukraine.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II publicly criticised the invasion of Ukraine by fellow Christian Orthodox brethren Russia to which the Cyprus Church has close ties.

“There is no excuse to go and destroy another country,” Chrysostomos told state TV broadcaster CyBC Tuesday.

“To go and flatten another country for no reason makes no sense,” he added.

The Archbishop’s harsh words hold sway in a religious society that practices the same orthodox faith as Russians.

“I am saddened because people are being killed,” said Chrysostomos.

He argued there was “no logic” to Putin’s actions which showed “he is not behaving like a Christian”.

“I don’t know if this person (Putin) is well, the way he is behaving.”

He said it was an unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which the church couldn’t condone.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Cyprus to revoke passports issued to Russians through an investment scheme and stop private yachts docking in its marinas.

Zelensky made the plea during a special session where he addressed the Cypriot parliament via a live video link.

He said Cyprus has “tools to pressure” its traditionally close friend Russia.

The Ukrainian leader urged Cypriot authorities to “close the ports” to all Russian private yachts and end other “privileges”.

He called on Cypriots to revoke passports issued to wealthy Russians under the disgraced citizenship for investment scheme shut down under corruption allegations in November 2020.

Cyprus has sent over 215 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, its largest contribution overseas.

It has also received over 10,000 Ukrainian refugees in a country with a relatively large Russian diaspora.

There have been several anti-war protests since the Russian invasion on 24 February.