AS THE WAR in Ukraine reaches its first anniversary, Quakers are mourning the loss of life, devastation and suffering and are continuing to call for a cessation of fighting, for Russian withdrawal, and for all parties to observe international law.

With the conflict entrenched, peacebuilding measures remain vital, and the UK government should concentrate on peaceful routes out of the conflict that minimise violence and suffering while securing justice for the people of Ukraine, say Quakers in Britain.

Many Russians and Ukrainians are working for peace, including protesting against the war in Russia, and non-violent civil resistance in occupied Ukraine, often at significant personal risk. Quakers uphold these courageous actions and stand in solidarity at this violent and perilous time.

These grassroots endeavours must be supplemented by political action. Quakers continue to call on the UK government, the governments of Ukraine, Russia, neighbouring countries, the United States, NATO, and the European Union, to explore all avenues to find peaceful routes out of this conflict. These should minimise violence and suffering, secure justice for the people of Ukraine and recognise the security needs of all the peoples and countries in the region.

Quaker vigils marking the anniversary are being held in solidarity with all those suffering and all those working for peace. Representatives of Quakers in Britain are attending interfaith memorial services in London.

Many Quakers have opened their doors to Ukrainian refugees but knowing how to respond as a peace church when faced with appalling suffering and loss has been difficult.

Quakers have supported critical thinking around the conflict and the ethical challenges it poses, as in Quaker Peace & Social Witness’s most downloaded lesson of last year: ‘Would you fight in Ukraine?’ (on TES). The popularity of this resource reflects an interest among UK teachers and students to learn about the war with empathy and compassion.

In addition, Quakers in Britain have collated thoughts on the questions which continue to challenge Quakers and all others who believe in nonviolent means to resolve conflict.

* More information on these events and peace vigil resources here.

Source: Quakers in Britain