Archbishop of Canterbury visits Kyiv to see courage of Ukrainians


Justin Welby with Krystyna Laschenko and her daughter (Picture: Lambeth Palace)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised Ukraine’s ‘extraordinary courage’ at the start of a three-day visit to the capital Kyiv.

The Most Rev Justin Welby is making the advent visit to show solidarity with Ukrainians in the face of the Russian bombardment that has left many facing blackouts over winter.

He will also meet Ukrainian ­refugees and internally displaced people while learning how the Church of England can continue to offer its support.

After his arrival on a train from the Polish capital Warsaw yesterday, the archbishop said: ‘The people of Ukraine have shown extraordinary courage in the face of Russia’s illegal, unjust and brutal invasion.

‘This visit is about showing ­solidarity with them as they face a profoundly difficult winter. I look forward to meeting with church leaders and local Christians in Kyiv, and learning how we can continue to support them amidst the ongoing devastation, loss and destruction of this war.’

Poland and Ukraine both have a small community of Anglicans.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Justin Welby visited a support centre for migrants during his visit (Picture: Getty Images)

The archbishop was accompanied in Kyiv by Krystyna Laschenko, who is ­warden of Christ Church Kyiv and her daughter Marharyta Stafiichuk.

While in Warsaw, Dr Welby visited Ukrainian House – a support centre for migrants that has been supporting Ukrainian refugees since the start of the Russian invasion in February, and said it was ‘deeply moving’ to hear their stories.

‘In this season of advent, we remember Jesus was born into ­conflict and persecution – and became a refugee when his parents fled violence and persecution to seek safety in Egypt,’ he added.

Dr Welby urged Christians across the globe ‘to keep praying for the people of Ukraine in this advent season – along with all people caught up in conflicts around the world – and offering our solidarity and support in every way we can’.

His visit to Ukraine follows one to Mozambique last week, where he met people affected by attacks from Daesh-linked terrorists in the southern African nation.

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