War in Ukraine: Why the world must stand together for peace
Written by: Paul Cook
The world is reeling from the unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The people of Ukraine now face the prospect of a prolonged period of conflict and suffering, and the whole world is facing a destabilised and dangerous new world order. Thoughts are turning to the Ukrainian people–thousands are fleeing the violence as refugees, while those who stay face the prospect of an oppressive new regime.
Tearfund joins the rest of the world in condemning such shocking use of violence against a peaceful democratic nation. Our prayers are with the people of Ukraine as they face the horrors of war in the weeks and months ahead.
After an alleged shelling by separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, Anastasia and her young family are forced to flee to a family member’s home. Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka
An impact on the whole world
Conflict and the suffering it causes are all too familiar to organisations like Tearfund. Many of the countries we work in across Africa, Asia and Latin America are experiencing conflict–often prolonged and complex. The organisations and local churches Tearfund has the privilege of supporting are doing incredible work in these difficult situations.
As well as providing immediate necessities like shelter, health care, water and sanitation to those impacted by war, they are doing crucial work bringing together communities across the dividing lines of conflict. This is empowering people to share, learn, heal, be reconciled and work together to build peace.
As tragic as these conflicts are, the war in Ukraine threatens to be even more serious, not just for the people of Ukraine, but for the whole world.
War-affected Ukrainians flee to neighbouring countries.
“The economic and political shockwaves from the invasion of Ukraine will impact the whole world, far beyond just Europe.”
The world is witnessing a major nuclear superpower unjustly invading and occupying a peaceful democratic nation. This is something that has been extremely rare in recent decades, with real echoes of the descent into global war in the 1930s.
Of course, no powerful nation is blameless. Most Western nations have much guilt in their own history (often recent history). No powerful nation, whether autocratic or democratic, should be allowed to simply invade and take over smaller nations because they have the might to do so. Such a worrying precedent, if it becomes established, violates all international rules and norms, threatening to set off a chain of events that could destabilise the whole world and all too easily descend into a new world war.
The economic and political shockwaves from the invasion of Ukraine will impact the whole world, far beyond just Europe. The consequences on the global economy, not least on food prices–a crucial issue for poorer nations–are already emerging. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Russia and Ukraine together account for a third of the world’s wheat exports.
Time after time, it is the smallest, poorest countries, already reeling from the impacts of the climate crisis and Covid-19, that are hit hardest by such shocks. If the conflict escalates further, then of course all these impacts will be made even worse.
A call for God’s people
As a Christian organisation, we know our God is a God of peace–whose heart is to bring healing and reconciliation to all conflicts everywhere. In God’s kingdom, there is no place for war, or for the powerful to dominate the weak. As his people, following Jesus where the need is greatest, we must all do all we can to be citizens of God’s kingdom and seek to bring peace in every situation.
“We cannot allow our world to slide back into one where peace, democracy, justice and the values of God’s kingdom mean nothing.”
In the face of this crisis, it is vital that the whole world also stands united in condemning such unprovoked aggression. We do this by ensuring that the people of Ukraine are supported, by being clear that further acts of this nature will not be tolerated, and by calling for peace and not resorting to confrontational language.
The world must use this as a wake-up call to redouble our efforts to end conflicts everywhere. This means releasing the financial support and diplomatic pressure to help end the dozens of such crises that plague so many countries around the world.
We cannot allow our world to slide back into one where peace, democracy, justice and the values of God’s kingdom mean nothing, and the most powerful are free to do as they wish. The horrors of conflict are well known; the world must stand together now to prevent that from becoming our new norm.
Join us in praying for Ukraine
God of peace,
We pray for worried mothers and fathers.
We pray for frightened children.
We pray for people who cannot flee,
And for those who are running for their lives.
Bring comfort, safety and provision.
We pray for those reaching out to help the vulnerable.
We pray for leaders on both sides.
We pray for a world that seems darker today.
Bring wisdom, calm and compassion.
And let your light shine on the people of Ukraine.
May there be an immediate end to the conflict,
And lasting peace.
In Jesus’ name we pray.