Ukraine, Briefly

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  • Pope Francis hopes to meet with Patriarch Kirill, the “pro-war” leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, to promote peace when he attends a meeting of religious leaders in Kazakhstan this fall, Euronews reported. It would be the first meeting between the two since they last met in 2016 in Cuba, the first such meeting between the leaders of the two churches since the Great Schism in 1054. It would also be the first encounter between the two since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which ignited not only a rift between the two churches, but also a rebellion within the Russian Orthodox Church: More than 150 Russian Orthodox clerics called for a stop to the war in an open letter on March 1, but which Kirill did not sign, Radio Free Europe said. Instead, Kirill has expressed solidarity with Russian authorities, prompting Pope Francis to warn the patriarch against becoming President Vladimir “Putin’s altar boy.”
  • Russia’s Supreme Court designated the Azov Regiment, a former volunteer battalion with far-right roots that was officially absorbed into Ukraine’s army, as a “terrorist” organization, Al Jazeera wrote. The top court’s decision on Tuesday allows for severe jail sentences for Azov members, who are accused of holding neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs.
  • United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned this week that mankind was “just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” citing the crisis in Ukraine as one of the conflicts increasing the risk to levels not seen since the peak of the Cold War, according to the New York Times.

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