They’re butchering the innocent in Ukraine

A religious sister based in Ukraine speaks of invading Russian forces butchering innocent people.

The Russia-Ukraine war isn’t a war of military combat between armies using weapons, she explains.

It’s something else. She speaks of massacres. Of  dead children. Dead civilians. Of repression and brutal sexual assaults on women and children.

Sister Ligy Payyappilly sees a lot of refugees fleeing the conflict in the east of Ukraine. She lives in a western town near the Polish, Slovakian, Hungarian and Romanian borders.

Her information is probably accurate and fresh. It’s garnered from refugees. Her convent and other religious houses in western Ukraine have been housing refugees since the war began. Most refugees are women and children.

Payyappilly says press reports of Russian human rights abuses and war crimes committed by Russian troops in areas they control are true.

“Is it what we call war?” she asks.

“Shooting innocent men point blank, raping young women and mothers in front of their children, brutally injuring the pregnant women? How can these people become so cruel?

“Here women and girls have recounted the abuse they are suffering at the hands of Russian soldiers. Women are grappling with the threat of rape as a weapon of war.”

Payyappilly recounts horror story after horror story. Rapes. Children exposed to supreme evil. Wickedness. Hideous deaths. Mass killings.

“I do not know how many days it will take to bury them,” she says of all the dead.

“This is butchering of the innocents. No civilised society can approve it.”

Ukraine is living its Way of the Cross – but still has hope

“Since February 24, this war has become our Good Friday,” Payyappilly says.

“We know that Jesus went up from Pilate to Golgotha, his face and clothes covered in blood – the same is happening today in Ukraine; the blood of the innocent is everywhere.

“Truly, here we can meet many mothers who mourn their children just as Mary suffered before the Cross for her beloved Son… the more this war goes on, the more innocent people will die. Today Golgotha is really in Ukraine.

“But we know that Easter comes after Good Friday. We believe and know that God is with us. Easter will come for us too; our sufferings will end.

“Let us pray that the dawn of the Resurrection may come for us too. Jesus died for us. He knows our sufferings and can understand us. We are waiting for our Easter, especially for Ukraine, an Easter of hope and peace.”

There’s something else she’s concerned about too: Ukraine and Russia, two predominantly Orthodox nations with much shared history, are now at war.

“People of God fighting each other. Brothers separated in peace, now fighting to conquer the other. It is heartbreaking,” she says.


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