Photo from UNIAN

Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine Filaret has called on the European Parliament to view the war in Donbas as a pan-European problem.

"Since the aggressor was not given a worthy rebuff by Ukraine or Europe after [the annexation of] Crimea, we have now a war in Donbas. The aggressor has not seized Ukraine due to wisdom of the Ukrainian people, unexpected to the aggressor country. So, Europe is saved. If Ukraine had been seized, the aggressor would not have stopped and [would have] moved to Poland, the Baltic States and beyond. Therefore, we should not consider this as a Ukrainian problem. This is a pan-European problem. If we do not realize this, we will have trouble in Europe," Filaret said at a conference "The human cost of Russian aggression in Ukraine: Testimonies of abductions, torture and murder," held in the European Parliament on May 2, an UNIAN correspondent in Brussels has reported.

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According to the patriarch, the war "could not have happened if there had been no aggression on the part of Russia, which has always been a potential aggressor."

He noted that the suffering of the Ukrainian people is the consequence of the war. Moreover, "innocent hostages" are being held in prisons in Russia, and the occupied Crimea and Donbas.

According to Filaret, his church is making every effort to "stop the aggressor" and facilitate the release of the hostages.

"They can be released when the aggressor is defeated. However, we want them to be released before the end of the war. We call on Europe to extend sanctions that are very painful to Russia, which can now barely stand them. Therefore, we ask to extend them [the sanctions] to have the aggressor stopped and defeated," the patriarch stressed.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on May 2, Patriarch Filaret would take part in two conferences: "The human cost of Russian aggression in Ukraine: Testimonies of abductions, torture and murder" and "Ukraine in times of independence: the Orthodox Kyiv Patriarchate and the challenges of a changing society."