Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has published a peace-seeking video message of the leaders of Ukrainian religious denominations to Ukrainian nationals living in the illegally annexed Crimea and temporarily occupied territories of Donbas.
"The result of my meetings with religious leaders was a peace message to residents of Crimea and Donbas. Thanks to everyone who agreed. We are with you! We are together! We are one country!" Zelensky signed the video posted on his Facebook page.
The video shows redacted appeals from Honorable Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Filaret, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav [Shevchuk], Head of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Onufriy, Mufti of Crimea Ayder Rustemov, Chief Rabbi of Odesa and southern Ukraine Avraham Wolff, Mufti Ahmad Tamim, Mufti Said Ismagilov, Chief Rabbi of Dnipro and Dnipropetrovsk region Shmuel Kaminetsky, Chief Rabbi of Kharkiv and eastern Ukraine Moshe Moskovich, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv Moshe Reuven Azman, and Chief Rabbi of Donbas Phinehas Vishetsky.
Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy was not shown in the video.
According to BBC sources close to Epifaniy, the latter declined an offer to take part in the effort.
The cleric was allegedly worried that it would seem if he was calling for talks with militant leaders. The hierarch did not like the piece he was offered to voice, calling on parties to stop "speaking the language of the cannons".
The publication notes that the head of the church was worried that his participation in the video along with OCU's honorable patriarch Filaret would lead to speculations over who is a top figure in the OCU.