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Ukraine Should Give Up Donbass For the Sake of Ceasefire, Says Church of England’s Bishop

A general view shows Canterbury Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury leader of the Church of England, is seen in Canterbury, southern England on November 23, 2020.UK prime minister Boris Johnson, on the contrary, earlier warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky against a peace deal with Russia.Ukraine should give up its eastern Donbass territories in order to reach a ceasefire with Russia, the Church of England’s Bishop of Leeds Rt Revd Nick Baines has said. According to him, the UK’s objectives in the ongoing conflict are “unclear”, while the anti-Russian sanctions used by the Western countries are “blunt” instruments that are affecting all of the Russian people.”It would be morally problematic to oppose a reasonable agreement to end the war and spare the people of Ukraine further terrible suffering in the hope of securing additional advantage through a protracted conflict,” Baines wrote in the documents published ahead of the General Synod.The bishop also warned against NATO moving “from assisting Ukraine to defending itself, to one with a wider geo-strategic objective,” saying that it would be one of “the surest of ways to invite strategic miscalculation.”The statement has prompted a backlash, with the Church of England quickly noting that the documents do not reflect its policy or views and assuring that “the territorial integrity of Ukraine is without question.” After facing criticism, Baines himself wrote in his Twitter account that “debate is not a statement of church’s mind.”While the bishop’s statement calls for efforts to the ceasefire, the UK government seems to be pushing forward a different agenda. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for his part, said he is not going to urge Western leaders to put pressure on Kiev so that it moves toward a peace deal.“Now is not the time to settle and encourage the Ukrainians to settle for a bad peace, for a peace for which they are invited to give up chunks of their territory in return for a ceasefire,” Johnson stated.Currently, the diplomatic process between Russia and Ukraine is far from being restored. Moscow said that that the future negotiations depend on the situation “on the ground”, urging Kiev to take into consideration the will of its own people.”There are liberated areas there. The majority of the population does not even think about returning again to the control of neo-Nazi authorities or authorities that in every possible way indulge neo-Nazism,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said of the situation.According to the Kremlin, Ukraine is not being allowed to make any credible offer to restart the negotiating process because of the West’s pressure. The UK, as well as the US, the EU, and some other countries, has condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine as “invasion”. Moscow, in its turn, has repeatedly outlined that the military operation was launched in response to calls for help from people of Donbass, and has its goal to “demilitarize and de-Nazify” Ukraine.

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