Ilia II, the Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia, has responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the breakout of hostilities by calling for an end to the clashes “as soon as possible”.
The official Twitter account of the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church posted a message warning of a “world tragedy” unless the developments in the east of Ukraine were halted.
A separate statement, released by the Patriarchate, highlighted the matter of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, based on “Georgia's bitter experience” with its occupied territories since the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.
The hostilities in #Ukraine must be stopped as soon as possible; otherwise, they will develop into a world tragedy!— Patriarch Ilia II (@patriarchGEO) February 24, 2022
In the statement, the head of the religious body said there was still an avenue for “normalising the situation” and to maintaining peace in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of the military action earlier on Thursday, following his recognition of independence of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions earlier this week, and called on Ukrainian soldiers “to lay down their arms” and pledging to “demilitarise and denationalise Ukraine.”